01.30.21

Links 30/1/2021: Wine 6.1, LibreOffice New Generation

Posted in News Roundup at 1:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • New project uses rollups to build Linux-based decentralized computer

        Layer-two project Cartesi has unveiled a rollup-centric design for its Cartesi Machine, a Linux-based virtual machine that would allow developers to run any type of computing application secured via blockchains.

        Cartesi’s design uses a slightly modified version of Optimistic Rollups, a layer-two technology developed within the Ethereum ecosystem, to power its virtual machine. In contrast with Optimism’s implementation, which uses this type of rollups primarily to maintain full compatibility with Ethereum smart contracts, Cartesi wants to offer a traditional development environment.

        The Cartesi virtual machine emulates a RISC-V microprocessor architecture, an open-source alternative to the ARM instruction set commonly used in smartphones or Apple’s M1-based computers. The RISC-V architecture allows running standard software environments based on Linux. For developers building on Cartesi, this means that smart contracts can be developed in virtually any language and development ecosystem, provided it is supported by Linux.

    • Server

      • Announcing Istio 1.7.7

        This release contains bug fixes to improve robustness. This release note describes what’s different between Istio 1.7.6 and Istio 1.7.7

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Graphics Stack

        • AMDVLK 2021.Q1.2 Brings More Radeon RX 6000 Series Optimizations

          AMDVLK 2021.Q1.1 released near the beginning of the month with various “RDNA 2″ optimizations while now AMDVLK 2021.Q1.2 is out in closing out the month and bringing more Big Navi optimizations.

        • Open-Source NVIDIA Changes Sent In For Linux 5.12 – Phoronix

          Following NVIDIA RTX 30 open-source mode-setting support in Linux 5.11, the batch of feature changes slated for the Linux 5.12 kernel have now been submitted to DRM-Next.

          With the effective cut-off of new feature material for the next kernel cycle being generally at the “-rc6″ stage, this weekend marks the last general opportunity to get new feature work into DRM-Next ahead of the Linux 5.11-rc6 release on Sunday. After that initial Ampere kernel mode-setting for Nouveau went in late for Linux 5.11, a new batch of changes were sent in today by Red Hat’s Ben Skeggs who continues to oversee this open-source NVIDIA DRM/KMS driver.

        • Xwayland 21.1.0 release schedule proposal
          Per my plan discussed at 
          https://gitlab.freedesktop.org/xorg/xserver/-/merge_requests/582, I'm 
          proposing the following schedule:
          
          * February 3rd: Create xwayland-21.1 branch
          * February 17th: First release candidate
          * March 3rd: Second release candidate
          * March 17th: Final 21.1.0 release
          
          There may be more release candidates (or just one), depending on the 
          feedback we get from testing.
          
          Let me know if you think any of these should be moved up or back.
          
          
          I've created an "xwayland-21.1.0" milestone: 
          
          https://gitlab.freedesktop.org/xorg/xserver/-/milestones/11
          
          This milestone should be set on issues / MRs which need to be addressed 
          or at least considered before the 21.1.0 release.
          
        • XWayland 21.1 Planned For Release In Mid-March – Phoronix

          Plans are moving forward for providing standalone XWayland packages that would ship the latest XWayland code for allowing X11 clients within Wayland environments, separate from X.Org Server releases as has been the bundling case to date.

          Given the elusive X.Org Server 1.21 with no one stepping up to manage that release and get it shipped, Fedora / Red Hat is resorting to shipping standalone XWayland packages based on that X.Org Server Git code but only providing the XWayland bits. While the conventional X.Org Server code seldom seems improvements these days, the XWayland area does remain quite active with performance optimizations, new features, and other fixes.

        • [Mesa-dev] [ANNOUNCE] mesa 21.0.0-rc3
          Hi list,
          
          I forgot to send out the announce email yesterday, sorry about that.
          
          Mesa 21.0.0-rc3 is now available for publich consumption, it contains
          lots of good fixes, please test and report any issues.
          
          Cheers,
          Dylan
          
          
        • Mesa 21.0 Gearing Up To Ship As Soon As Next Week For Latest Open-Source GPU Drivers – Phoronix

          For those Linux gamers and other desktop users of the open-source OpenGL/Vulkan drivers with some extra time this weekend, Mesa 21.0-RC3 is now available for testing as what might be the last release candidate before officially releasing Mesa 21.0 as soon as next week.

          With Mesa 21.0 having branched earlier in the quarter than usual and so far the release cycle playing out well, Mesa 21.0.0 could be out as soon as next week unless opting for Mesa 21.0-RC4 and in turn pushing the release back another week. Normally the new Mesa feature releases don’t arrive until the end of the second month of the quarter or often the last month each quarter with delays, but this time around Mesa 21.0.0 is shaping up for an early February debut. This should also help lighten the load in ensuring Mesa 21.0 makes it into the likes of Ubuntu 21.04 in a timely manner.

        • Intel’s Open-Source Compute Stack Continues Work Towards Multi-GPU Support – Phoronix

          With Intel’s Linux graphics driver being designed around their long history of integrated graphics, it has taken a lot of reworking over the past year in getting it ready for the concept of dedicated video memory as well as the prospects of multi-device support where the Intel kernel graphics driver may be dealing with two Intel GPUs on the same system — an iGPU and dGPU or even multiple dGPUs, a concept never previously relevant to their driver code. Thus there has been some hiccups like currently needing to use virtualization with two kernels like in the instance of making use of Xe MAX graphics. All of that though is being worked through and with a mainline kernel in the hopefully not distant future will gracefully jive with multiple Intel graphics adapters.

    • Benchmarks

      • Samsung 870 EVO Linux Performance Benchmarks

        For those continuing to rely on SATA 3.0 storage, last week Samsung introduced the 870 EVO as their latest solid-state drive in the very successful EVO line-up. For those curious about the Linux performance of the Samsung 870 EVO or wanting to run your own side-by-side benchmarks against the data in this article, here is a review looking at the Samsung 870 EVO 500GB SSD.

    • Applications

      • Save Time and Effort with these Excellent Free Batch Image Processors

        Batch image processors are often underrated and don’t get the attention they deserve. But this type of software is worth getting familiar with. With batch image processing, a user can select a size or file type, and then convert all the selected images.

        This way, hundreds or thousands of images can be processed with just a few clicks. Unfortunately, there are not that many tools that do batch conversion really well. But these five tools save loads of time and effort.

        If you deal with writing content on the web, you are likely to need to process images, and face the pain of converting many images to different sizes and formats. The best batch image processors do lots more than resize and convert images. They also offer some advanced functions including graphics editing.

      • List of Free, Open Source Video Call Alternatives (Jitsi, Mattermost)

        What is your choice after switching from Zoom? You should choose Free Libre Open Source Software solutions like mentioned in this article. This list offers you choices of video call platform which are accessible using both computer & phone, free at no cost access, and also do not require you to install app. I wish this list helps every student, teacher, school, and university in the world. Please help me share!

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How to SSH Properly

        In essence, this blog post is a collection of industry best practices to SSH security, and it’s written with OpenSSH users in mind.

      • How to count the number of online channels via wtwitch | Hund

        I recently wrote about my new Twitch client wtwitch. It’s been a good replacement for my previous client Twitchy (which has been abandoned and stopped working last year), but there has been one thing that I’ve been missing from my previous client, and that’s the ability to count and print the online channels.

      • Monitor Etcd Cluster with Grafana and Prometheus

        We are going to configure Prometheus to monitor Etcd cluster.

      • How to install Google Cloud SDK in Linux (Ubuntu, CentOS) – LinuxTechLab

        Learn how to install Google Cloud SDK in Linux (Ubuntu, Centos etc). Google Cloud SDK is used to manage the google cloud platform using the

      • Configure IP address in Linux (RHEL/CentOS 7) – LinuxTechLab

        In this Beginner’s friendly tutorial, we will configure IP address in Linux for our RHEL/CentOS 7 machines. To configure an IP Addr

      • Install TeamViewer on Ubuntu & CentOS /RHEL – LinuxTechLab

        In this Beginner’s friendly tutorial, we will install TeamViewer on Ubuntu & RHEL/CentOS. Teamviewer for Ubuntu & CentOS is a famous remotes

      • How To Install Wireshark 3.4.3 On Ubuntu / LinuxMint | Tips On UNIX

        Wireshark an open-source Network Protocol analyzer application and the most widely used application across the world.

        This tutorial will be helpful for beginners to install Wireshark 3.4.3 on Ubuntu 20.04, Ubuntu 20.10, Ubuntu 18.04, and LinuxMint 20.1

      • Install Wine 6.1 In Ubuntu 20.04 / Linux Mint & Fedora 33 | Tips On UNIX

        Wine released its new development version 6.1.

        As you know Wine is an application used to run windows applications on Non-Windows Operating systems such as Linux, FreeBSD, and macOS.

        This tutorial will be helpful for beginners to install wine 6.1 in Ubuntu 20.10, Ubuntu 20.04, Fedora 33, and Linux Mint 20.1.

      • About me and my life …: Fedora 33 : The new Wine 6.0.

        The new released of Wine 6.0 comes with this intro:
        The Wine team is proud to announce that the stable release of Wine 6.0 is now available. This release represents a year of development effort and over 8,300 individual changes. It contains a large number of improvements that are listed in the release notes below. The areas of major changes are:
        - Core modules in PE format.
        - Vulkan backend for WineD3D.
        - DirectShow and Media Foundation support.
        - Text console redesign. …

      • How To Install Signal Messenger on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Signal Messenger on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, The Signal messenger is a popular and secure person to person internet messaging that is used for both web and phone-based applications communications globally. Signal has well known due to the privacy it provides along with several custom encryption techniques.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step by step installation of Signal Messenger on Ubuntu 20.04 (Focal Fossa). You can follow the same instructions for Ubuntu 18.04, 16.04, and any other Debian based distribution like Linux Mint.

      • Install Python 3.9 on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

        Python is a high-level programming language, mostly used to write scripting and automation. It is a very popular language known for its simplicity and easy syntax. Python one of the best language for for artificial intelligence (AI).

      • How to fix error : Conda command not found

        If you have already installed Miniconda and cannot run the commands in the terminal while using zsh, you may find the following helpful.

      • Linux audio – only speakers or microphone available, not both

        Here we go. I am happy to have fixed the issue, but I am terribly disappointed that this kind of problem can or should occur in 2021. You might be inclined to blame hardware, and you might even search for specific audio issues with the AMD Raven/Raven2 Audio Processor, which could be a good indicative starting point. But in the end, it’s not hardware stuff we ought to blame. I do not know why the PulseAudio configuration should be any different for this particular card on this distro, but in any case, you have this tutorial, so hopefully things will be all jolly from now on.

        If you’re facing audio issues on your Linux laptop, try to debug your problem methodically. Does the audio work correctly in other operating systems? Does the audio work selectively in your distro? If so, do you have the right kind of configuration in place? Use the lspci and pacmd commands to try to figure out what’s wrong, and then, you’re far more likely to zero in on the right configuration changes for the audio subsystem. In my case, it was the “simple” matter of creating a new PulseAudio profile. Once again, big thanks to the ArchLinux Wiki folks. Party on, fellas.

      • Openbox tweaks and tricks – no {dbus,ck2,elogind,dm} no user services needed

        Although this was created with Obarun/Arch based distros in mind it works pretty universally for nearly all distro that have openbox available (nearly all except for Adelie that is). About building and installing obmenu-generator there is an older article here.

      • How to Configure Static IP Address on Linux System

        A Static IP address is a 32-bit identification address of your network that never changes where the dynamic IP address changes frequently. Establishing a dial-up internet connection through the PPPoE method is more straightforward than configuring an internet connection through a static IP address. The ISP could often provide you an IPv4 address, sub-netmask, and gateway address to establish your internet connection. Suppose you are a newbie on internet configuration and not familiar with a Linux system’s network manager. In that case, it could be a bit trickier to configure a static IP address on Linux-based systems.

      • How to Mount and Use an exFAT Drive on Linux System

        As a Linux user, you probably already know that Linux uses the Ext4 journaling file system, where the entire operating system is stored inside the root directory. Other operating systems and a lot of digital gadgets use NTFS, Fat, Exfat, and other file systems. Here, the problem is Linux kernel doesn’t support the exFAT file system. Now, you might be fine with the Ext4, Fat and NTFS, and other file formats on your Linux system. But you need to know how to handle and mount an exFAT drive on your Linux system to use an exFAT Pendrive or flash drives.

      • How to Install and Configure PrestaShop on Linux System

        If you own a digital or physical store, it is essential to build a web store to sell and show your products over the internet. Creating your e-commerce store using the Prestashop CMS is easy because it doesn’t require any coding or programming skills; you can install it on your system, set your domain, and you are good to go. Prestashop is a free, open-source, and customizable e-commerce content management system (CMS) that you can install on your Linux system.

        Many premium themes, plugins, and stock templates will create an e-commerce store easier. Furthermore, the clean UI of the Prestashop CMS can offer your consumers a smooth shopping experience.

      • How To Install Jitsi Meet on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Jitsi Meet on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, Jitsi is a collection of free and open-source multi-platform voice, videoconferencing, and instant messaging applications for the web platform, Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, and Android. Jitsi Video Bridge is a WebRTC compatible server designed to route video streams amongst participants in a conference and Jitsi Meet, a WebRTC compatible JavaScript application that uses Jitsi Video bridge to provide high quality, scalable video conferences. Jitsi Meet is a simple, elegant, and secure alternative to Zoom, Skype, and Google Meet, which supports all common browsers and also mobile devices.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step by step installation of Jitsi Meet on Ubuntu 20.04 (Focal Fossa). You can follow the same instructions for Ubuntu 18.04, 16.04, and any other Debian based distribution like Linux Mint.

      • dnf package manager examples – The Linux Juggernaut

        DNF is considered to become the replacement for yum as the next default package manager for yum.
        The dnf package manager was introduced with Fedora 18 and had been designated as the default package manager as of Fedora 22.

      • Using rubygems for managing ruby packages in Linux – The Linux Juggernaut

        Ruby has become a popular and powerful programming language over the years since its inception in 1995.
        The Ruby programming language is the foundation for the popular web development framework Ruby on Rails.
        Increased popularity implied increased user base and increased functionality. So, ruby packages or gems were introduced to add additional features to the installed ruby programming language. In this article, we will explain how to install and use RubyGems – a sophisticated package manager for Ruby.

      • How to install PyCharm on a Chromebook

        Today we are looking at how to install PyCharm, community edition, on a Chromebook. Please follow the video/audio guide as a tutorial where we explain the process step by step and use the commands below.

      • Merging git branches on the command line and GitHub – The Linux Juggernaut

        In our previous articles on git branches we explained what are branches in git terminology. Branches provide a means to have a working copy of our code available in the master branch while we continue to make changes to it in a different branch. We also practically demonstrated how to create branches and work with them. In this article we will demonstrate how we could merge the work or updates that we’ve made while working in a branch with the master branch. The demonstration will consist of merging changes with the master branch on the command line as well as on a remote. For the purpose of this demonstration we will be using GitHub as our remote since we’ve already set it up and synced our repositories up there.

      • Recovering a missing kernel in Centos 6 – The Linux Juggernaut

        Recently when I restarted a centos 6.8 system, I was greeted with the message “Error 15: File not found”. In this article, I will systematically describe the steps I used to recover my system. I was using a VMware virtual machine.

      • How to create Ubuntu install USB

        If you’ve ever wanted to install Ubuntu Linux but can’t figure out how to create an Ubuntu install USB, this guide is for you. Follow along as we go over the easiest ways to create an Ubuntu install USB.

      • Anydesk: Linux install instructions [Guide]

        Anydesk is a remote desktop application for Linux, Windows, Mac, and other platforms. It claims to be the fastest and easiest to use, compared to other remote applications on the market. Here’s how to install it on Linux.

      • How to install Synfig Studio on a Chromebook

        Today we are looking at how to install Synfig Studio, 2D animation software, on a Chromebook. Please follow the video/audio guide as a tutorial where we explain the process step by step and use the commands below.

      • Bash Tips and Tricks to Work Smarter in the Terminal – Make Tech Easier

        As Linux users, it’s a special moment when we first open up a terminal and start working on the system in a way that’s most efficient, powerful, and flexible. However, your first foray into the terminal could potentially be intimidating, as all you’re greeted with is a blinking cursor and an endless world of possibilities. To help with that, we show you some Bash tips and tricks to work smarter, not harder, in the terminal.

      • How to Install and Configure Algo VPN Server on Ubuntu 20.04

        Algo VPN is an open-source software bundle or set of Ansible script that is used to set up a WireGuard and IPsec VPN. It was designed by Trail of Bits to make the VPN installation process simple yet secure. Algo VPN allows you to connect from any device including, Windows, Linux, OSX, Android, and iOS. Algo VPN supports many cloud provides including, Amazon, Google cloud, Vultr, DigitalOcean, Scalway, Linode and OpenStack.

      • How to install Signal Messaging App on Ubuntu 20.04

        The Signal messenger is a popular and secure person to person internet messaging that is used for both web and phone-based applications communications globally. Signal has well known due to the privacy it provides along with several custom encryption techniques. This security feature helps in keeping a close eye on the chats ensuring the privacy of the user. Today, the end-to-end encrypted protocols have become the most important feature in any messaging application, and Signal is no other exception. The application uses this protocol and does not share its application’s data with any other existing app. The most important thing I would like to tell is that it is also supported by Linux platforms. These all features discussed make this application a top choice of today’s users.

        In this tutorial, I will show you how to install the Signal messaging application on Ubuntu 20.04 Desktop.

      • Jamie McClelland: So… is Signal good or bad?

        After Facebook updated their Whatsapp privacy policy, and a certain rich capitalist who doesn’t like Facebook for reasons different then mine told the world to use Signal, Signal’s downloads went up by 4,200%.

        As often happens when something becomes popular, the criticisms start to fly!

        For the record, I currently think promoting Signal is an important tactical strategy for the left. [I also think we should promote and install federated chat apps like conversations and element and delta chat whereever it is possible.]

      • Manage containers with Podman Compose – Fedora Magazine

        Containers are awesome, allowing you to package your application along with its dependencies and run it anywhere. Starting with Docker in 2013, containers have been making the lives of software developers much easier.

      • Upgrading SUSE Linux Enterprise in the Public Cloud

        A common question customers ask is how to properly upgrade SUSE Linux Enterprise instances in the public cloud. There are two different scenarios to take into consideration. The first scenario is when you want to perform a service pack upgrade of a SLES or SLES for SAP instance. For example, you want to upgrade from SLES 15 SP1 to SLES 15 SP2. The second scenario is when you want to perform a major release upgrade of a SLES or SLES for SAP instance. For example, you want to upgrade from SLES 12 SP4 to SLES 15 SP2. This post will detail how to accomplish these scenarios and, more importantly, discuss problems you may encounter or need to be aware of and some tips on validating your environment once the upgrade is complete.

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine Announcement

        The Wine development release 6.1 is now available.

        What’s new in this release (see below for details):
        – Arabic text shaping.
        – More WinRT support in WIDL.
        – VKD3D version 1.2 is used for Direct3D 12.
        – Support for Rosetta’s memory layout on M1 Macs.
        – Support for Thumb-2 mode on ARM.
        – Various bug fixes.

      • Wine 6.1 Brings VKD3D 1.2 Support, Improvement For Apple M1 Macs With Rosetta – Phoronix

        Following the release of Wine 6.0 stable earlier this month, Wine 6.1 is now available as the first bi-weekly development snapshot that will ultimately culminate with the Wine 7.0 stable release next year.

        Coming out of the code freeze that has been in effect since early December, there is already a number of improvements to find with Wine 6.1 as this first development snapshot in the new series.

      • Wine 6.1 released beginning another year of improvements

        Now that the big stable Wine 6.0 release is out for the Windows compatibility layer, work begins again on another year of pulling in major new features with Wine 6.1 out now.

        For newer readers and Linux users here’s a refresher – Wine is a compatibility layer built for operating systems like Linux, macOS and BSD. The idea is to allow other platforms to run games and applications only built and supported for Windows. It’s also part of what makes up Steam Play Proton. Once a year or so, all the development is bundled into a stable release.

    • Games

      • Civilization VI Vietnam & Kublai Khan Pack out now | GamingOnLinux

        Joining the list of DLC available for Civilization VI as part of the New Frontier Pass is the Vietnam & Kublai Khan Pack that’s now available with a big game update. Available to buy individually like the rest of the packs, or buy the New Frontier Pass to get access to all of them.

        In addition to the new civilization and leaders details below, there’s also the big new “Monopolies and Corporations” game mode. The whole idea here is to create industry around luxury resources to get powerful buffs, and eventually turn them into a full corporation to create products. If you manage to dominate a luxury resource you get a monopoly, which then gives addition tourism and gold. The idea of the mode is to give a little more fun and depth to the resources.

      • Tough city-building strategy game As Far As The Eye now supported on Linux | GamingOnLinux

        As Far As The Eye is a strategy game that has you build a city, while also making you constantly move on before the world becomes submerged. It’s tough and it’s now available on Linux.

        Developed by Unexpected with publishing from Goblinz Studio, Maple Whispering Limited it brings together city building, procedural generation and a whole lot of planning ahead. With limited resources and time against you, there’s a constant need to prepare for the worst. This is no Civilization game and certainly not Cities Skylines either, this is a whole new breed. Originally released in September 2020, as of January 26 2021 it now supports Linux.

      • The Machinery game engine adds Linux support in Preview | GamingOnLinux

        The Machinery, an upcoming game engine from people who previously worked on the likes of Stingray, Bitsquid, and Diesel engines released a new build with the first Preview of Linux support.

        Joining the ranks of many game engines to offer it including Defold, Godot Engine, Unity, Unreal, Ren’Py and a great many more that would take too long to list. The team behind The Machinery certainly know what they’re doing, given their previous work like Bitsquid / Stingray was used for some big games like Helldivers and Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide and more.

        It’s currently in Open Beta with the January 2021 (version 2021.1) going live that adds in (amongst other things) support for Linux in a Preview state.

        Unlike other game engines, The Machinery seems to be selling itself on developers who want a ton of configuration. The developers mention about how it’s “completely plugin-based” so you pick and choose all the parts of it you want to extend the editor and the engine as you see fit.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Search In Files & Multi-Threading

          Kate has since years a very nifty search in files plugin. It allows to do multi-file searches and replacements.

          Together with the projects plugin, I use this plugin daily, it is great!

          But, whereas it was very useful already since the first release and got polished a lot in the last years, it is by far not the fastest file search out there. Let’s be honest: for example Visual Studio Code is fast, we are slow, that is bad :=P

          For the 21.04 release, Kåre Särs (the original author & maintainer of the plugin), Waqar Ahmed and me tried to rectify this.

        • On Stewardship

          What’s going on with GameStop right now got me thinking about the relevance to what we do in KDE.

          For those not closely following it, here’s what’s happening: a small army of individual investors has purchased as many shares of the GameStop company as possible, calling the bluff of several large hedge funds that bet against GameStop by selling borrowed shares, mistakenly borrowing more shares than actually exist. Oops. A lot of these individual investors used a popular trading app named Robinhood, which it turns out is controlled by one of the companies betting against GameStop. So yesterday, Robinhood prohibited buying more GameStop shares, only selling. This drove the price lower and allowed some of the hedge funds to get out at a lower price than they otherwise would have had to accept, and reduced the value of Robinhood’s own users’ GameStop shares.

          [...]

          In KDE, we also have a platform that people depend on, and trust us to be good stewards of. By and large we don’t have the same potential financial conflicts of interest, but others are possible when it comes to our feelings and other personal interests: we might want see ourselves as kings of a little digital kingdom, or want the software to reflect our own preferences rather than those of our users, or whatever.

          In the interest of remaining wise stewards of our platform, we must always resist these desires. Not only are they selfish, but they are ultimately short-sighted and would lead to us losing users and credibility. By and large I think KDE community members already do a great job of this! And that’s a good thing, because the bigger we grow, the more important we will become, and the more frequent these potential conflicts of interest will become. In the face of these challenges, we must retain our culture of stewardship, and I feel fairly confident that we will!

        • This week in KDE: Getting ready for Plasma 5.21

          We spent the week largely working on polishing up Plasma 5.21 and fixing all the bugs you folks found in the beta! Or internal QA seems to be improving because there don’t seem to be as many this time around, and we’ve already got most of them fixed. Hallelujah! So hopefully 5.21 should be a fairly smooth release. Famous last words, eh?

          Have a look at https://community.kde.org/Get_Involved to discover ways to be part of a project that really matters. Each contributor makes a huge difference in KDE; you are not a number or a cog in a machine! You don’t have to already be a programmer, either. I wasn’t when I got started. Try it, you’ll like it! We don’t bite!

        • KDE Ends Out January With A Lot Of Fixes For Plasma 5.21
      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • [Older] Sabotage Linux on the “progress” of Linux

          Lately I see many developments in the linux FOSS world that sell themselves as progress, but are actually hugely annoying and counter-productive.

          [...]

          GTK+2 used to be the GUI toolkit for Linux desktop applications. It is highly customizable, reasonably lightweight and programmable from C, which means almost any scripting language can interface to it too.

          Rather than improving the existing toolkit code in a backwards-compatible manner, its developers decided to introduce many breaking API changes which require a major porting effort to make an existing codebase compatible with the successor GTK+3, and keeping support for GTK+2 while supporting GTK+3 at the same time typically involves a lot of #ifdef clutter in the source base which not many developers are willing to maintain.

          Additionally GTK+3 made away with a lot of user-customizable themeing options, effectively rendering useless most of the existing themes that took considerable developer effort for their creation. Here’s a list of issues users are complaining about.

          Due to the effort required to port a GTK+2 application to use GTK+3, many finished GUI application projects will never be ported due to lack of manpower, lost interest of the main developer or his untimely demise. An example of such a program is the excellent audio editor sweep which has seen its last release in 2008. With Linux distros removing support for GTK+2, these apps are basically lost in the void of time.

          The other option for distros is to keep both the (unmaintained) GTK+2 and GTK+3 in their repositories so GTK+2-only apps can still be used, however that causes the user of these apps to require basically the double amount of disk and RAM space as both toolkits need to live next to each other. Also this will only work as long as there are no breaking changes in the Glib library which both toolkits are built upon.

        • GNOME 3.38.3 Released with Better Support for Multi-Monitor Setups, Many Improvements

          Noteworthy changes include fixed Epiphany’s pinned tabs reordering themselves and full-screen reveal animation not working properly, fixed a nasty flaw in GDM (GNOME Display Manager) allowing users with autologin enabled to bypass the lock screen, and fixes for small leaks in the new printer dialog and when getting Wi-Fi secrets.

          GNOME 3.38.3 also improves the fingerprint dialog, fixes the screencast indicator on X.Org Server and inline-replies in chat notifications, improves Do-Not-Disturb support, improves the app picker spacing on larger resolutions, and improves previews in workspace thumbs in the window-list and workspace-indicator extensions.

        • GNOME Beers – FOSDEM 2021

          FOSDEM may be online this year, but that isn’t stopping us from hosting GNOME Beers. Join us Saturday February 6 at 18:00 UTC on our Big Blue Button server for a beer. The event will be under the GNOME Code of Conduct and last until approximately 20:00 UTC.

    • Distributions

      • Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tweets cryptic link to a custom Android ROM

        GrapheneOS is an open-sourced custom ROM based on the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) and was founded as far back as 2014. It does not use any Google apps or services but has Android app compatibility for apps that don’t require Google Play services to work. Since there’s no Play Store, users can install apps via third-party apps stores like Aurora Store. But the main focus for GrapheneOS is privacy and security.

      • [Older] Why was Nutyx dropped from our lists

        In our initial review of Nutyx, more than a year ago, we did not see a distro struggling for identity, we applauded their effort to make a linux system work without components of the pest (systemd, pulseaudio, gnome, wayland, etc.) but independently using the “stable” consolekit2, sysvinit as tried and refined for decades, and their very own tool for package management, cards. Revisiting it now, after comments on our list of linux distributions without systemd, we were both disappointed and curious on why and how they did such a thing. We have seen others go, but they were more like forks of a system than an independent distribution. Like ArchBang, the fleadog of flea dogs.

        First they struggled with consolekit2, which if they didn’t have the know how to make it work they could have taken a look from all those open-source projects that do make it work. Then tried to use systemd outright for its use of logind, and failed to isolate for just that “feature”. Then used elogind and libraries, as most of everyone else has, and they succeeded. So they called consolekit2 obsolete and adopted elogind. There is nothing “obsolete” about it, it is an alternative login management solution that has worked. Just because it requires some packaging work for upstream packages directly oriented to systemd functionality and require some substitution and configuration, doesn’t make consolekit2 obsolete. Proof that it is not, there are distributions still using it.

      • Slackel and Zenwalk (2021), report by Oneirosopher | systemd-free linux community

        Since both Slackel and Zenwalk are intended to be %100 compatible with the same Slackware Current, IN THEORY, it should be possible to add Slackel’s repos to Zenwalk and vice-versa. Slackel and Zenwalk use different package-managers but I guess their respective packages (including in-house applications) can be handled by both slapt-get/slapt-src and netpkg.

      • Zenwalk Slackel Salix – Slackware without systemd? | systemd-free linux community

        Run, don’t just add it on the TDO list, and download images from those two (Salix is dormant and part of Slackel) and if you do an installation, DO NOT do a network install, do copy from live image, or from CD. We will explain later, while you are downloading those historic pieces of Slackware forks.

        Cut them some slack? New Years day and all happy hunky dory crap…. Not here folks, go to Phoronix or Fedora-Magazine for such festive atmosphere.

        In our latest article about a stricter list of Linux distributions without systemd we located only 4 distributions up to now and we were asking for help from the community to locate the 5th, or more. A year ago we didn’t think it was that important, there were many. Many of what, you ask! Many that did not use systemd as init but also did not use elogind to support some demanding desktop setups. The common alternative for those who wanted to both support a variety of desktops and their software, is (IS) ConsoleKit2. Many of us who prefer a simpler system, a window-manager (either with floating or tiling windows) like to use the terminal to start and run anything, there may have not been any need for either one. Not even dbus. Not with all distributions, and it all depends on choices they make. Slackware has made it impossible to use with elogind. You can hardly use the console in Slackware without elogind/libelogind.

      • New Releases

        • EasyOS Buster 2.6.1 released for x86_64 PC

          A little note about EasyOS image files. I have been communicating with someone who was having difficulty installing to hard drive, and found all the documentation confusing. Emails went to and fro, until I finally realised the fundamental problem. The person has a lot of Linux experience, but it has all been with ISO files. He thinks that booting up from a USB-stick is just like with an ISO, it is not installed, and an installer has to be run.

          He was making statements like “It booted on the USB-stick, but it seems to have installed itself to the USB-stick and deleted the installer. How do I get the installer back?” — which didn’t make any sense to me. This is the ISO-centric mindset, that you have to wean yourself off.

          An Easy image file, ‘easy *.img.gz’, is a hard drive image, for a complete drive, and when written to the drive, it will be already installed. No “installer” is required. The drive image file could be written to any drive, such as HDD or SSD, not only a USB-stick. The Easy drive image even has it’s own boot manager, Refind for UEFI and Syslinux for BIOS.

          Or, you can follow the simple instructions for a “frugal” install to a partition in HDD or SSD, documented online. You don’t even have to be running EasyOS to do that, though it is simpler if you boot Easy first on a USB-stick, then do the frugal install.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Red Hat expands ways to access RHEL

          Red Hat has announced a number of new updates coming to Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) to make it more accessible to developers and development teams.

          “Just as in the past, we’re committed to making the RHEL ecosystem work for as broad a community as we can, whether it’s individuals or organizations seeking to run a stable Linux backend; community projects maintaining large CI/Build systems; open source developers looking toward “what’s next;” educational institutions, hardware, and software vendors looking to bundle solutions; or enterprises needing a rock-solid production platform,” Red Hat wrote in a post.

          First, it is introducing a no-cost version for small production workloads. According to Red Hat, no-cost RHEL currently exists through the Red Hat Developer program, but the program’s terms limited it such that it could only be used by single-machine developers. Now, the no-cost RHEL can be used for up to 16 systems.

        • Popular mythology spread by IBM parrots elogind vs consolekit2 1.2.2

          Thanks to the great work by Eric Koegel and Antoine Jacoutot we were not wrong again!

          Parrots never think of what it is they say, they hear things (generally things are heard through highly paid and supported media that serve corporate and state interests) and reproduce the sound of them. Not that they are dumb, but they can’t process rational language based communication.

        • [Older] 2021 hardcore list of linux without elogind and other systemd tracking devices

          This list is going to be short and there may be a sublist of distros with a medium strict standard. We shall explain what the object is, below the short list (which we hope the community will assist in making longer as we have not been able to currently review the work of every distro and fork.

        • 4 open practices for a sustainable technology transition | Opensource.com

          Free and open practices emerged with the idea of strengthening freedom for all users. The benefits of cooperative software development for common standards and higher code quality also became obvious. What seems unimaginable to many is developing a profitable business based on free and open practices. Nonetheless, over the past decade, multiple companies have demonstrated with great success how sustainable and open business models can look. Open Core, as one of the most well-known open business models, combines the practices of customization, transparency, and collaborative innovation, and has created a new way to involve users directly in core development.

          Out of this, a new billion-dollar business methodology has emerged that provides the foundational infrastructure for our digital world. What initially seemed possible only for software development is now being applied to new domains, as can be seen in the development of semiconductors with the advent of the RISC-V initiative. Hundreds of organizations are working together to create an open ecosystem that will ensure free and open designs of computer architectures and processors in the future. The same mindset can be applied to other sustainable technologies that define our lives.

        • Fedora program update: 2021-04 – Fedora Community Blog

          Here’s your weekly Fedora report. Read what happened this week and what’s coming up. Your contributions are welcome (see the end of the post)! The mass rebuild is under way.

          I have weekly office hours in #fedora-meeting-1. Drop by if you have any questions or comments about the schedule, Changes, elections, or anything else.

        • When sysadmins collaborate: Attending and organizing a local community meetup | Enable Sysadmin

          Innovation requires collaboration—and collaboration springs from sharing, whether it’s simple Enable Sysadmin articles like this or through interactions in local meetups where we get a chance to connect and meet fellow sysadmins and SMEs to exchange insights, ideas and learn from each other. Through these exchanges, you will realize that you’re not alone—some of your challenges are common across organizations, that most of the solutions are already out there waiting for you, and that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. No matter the situation, we’ve proven that there are creative ways to get connected, whether they be virtual or face-to-face.

          As the world continues to react to the COVID-19 pandemic, many face-to-face events around the world were temporarily paused out of necessity for public safety. With vaccine deployment beginning to ramp up, a return to more in-person events could be on the horizon, once it becomes safe to do so.

          In this article, I walk you through our personal experiences in participating and organizing various meetups. I hope our insights, learnings, and tips can help you make the most of these meetup events and even help you kickstart interest groups in your local communities.

        • Culture and engagement in community onboarding

          Onboarding new participants into a community, whether it be consumers or contributors, carries with it a good deal of responsibility and effort. As discussed in previous posts, user and contributor onboarding should be intentional and, ultimately, designed to reduce barriers to entry for newcomers to a project.

          Beyond the logistical challenges of bringing new people into a community is the harder-to-define part of bringing people into a community in a welcoming way. It’s one thing to have all the right signs in place that help new community members find what they need to use or contribute to the project. It’s often another thing to have them feel a part of the community. There are two paths to success here: the path of culture and the path of safety.

          [...]

          In a recent conversation, Sarah Finn, Agile Coach for Red Hat’s Community Platform Engineering team, highlighted one of the onboarding concepts she brings to the communities she fosters: “psychological safety.” For Finn, the idea of psychological safety is about creating an environment where all community participants feel like they belong and can participate how they want. A community that deliberately creates an environment where all can actively engage.

          This is a direct application of Dr. William Kahn’s 1990 study “Psychological Conditions of Personal Engagement and Disengagement at Work,” which focused on the concepts of employee engagement and retention, but can also easily be applied to participants in open source communities.

        • Bowmicro builds successful cloud service with Oracle Linux

          In this article, we are excited to share how Bowmicro offers clients enterprise-grade SaaS and IaaS solutions built with Oracle Linux and Virtualization.

          Bowmicro is a leading software company that provides managed data center cloud solutions and professional services in China. The company is a nationally certified and fully licensed high-tech company. These accreditations help assure customers that they are working with a reputable and reliable business with the proper technical expertise.

          In a competitive market, Bowmicro has a distinct advantage by offering hosted cloud solutions at affordable rates. They work with customers from all sectors including government, financial, telecommunications, and internet providers. Bowmicro also has many clients in the rapidly growing small and midsize Chinese business (SMB) market.

          Bowmicro is a longstanding member of the Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN). They work with and use many Oracle technologies to build their managed cloud platforms. For example, Bowmicro’s SaaS offering includes Oracle PeopleSoft amongst other applications. Underlying these SaaS instances is an IaaS foundation built using Oracle x86 Servers, Oracle Linux, and Oracle VM which can support third-party solutions, in addition to Oracle workloads. This infrastructure layer is also available separately to Bowmicro’s clients as a standalone IaaS offering.

        • Fedora 34: New Features and Release Dates

          Most of the packages, features of Fedora 34 are almost final following the string freeze. We give you a sneak peek of Fedora 34 new features and possible release dates. Take a look.

      • Debian Family

        • Junichi Uekawa: I wanted to learn about audio spectrograms of instruments.

          I wanted to learn about audio spectrograms of instruments. I wrote a web app because I could. Not sure if I should be fine-tuning some of the axes yet because I haven’t looked at many actual waveforms to know if this is useful.

        • App Showcase: WhatIP

          While the Librem 5 can act as a phone in the above video it was acting more like a server. The host Librem 5 was running Dictionary services, an SSH server, Apache2 web services, Server Lab Inventory, and Samba. Because PureOS relies on the solid core of Debian, I was able to copy-paste from Debian howto tutorials with little to no changes.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu 21.04 To Turn On LTO Optimizations For Its Packages – Phoronix

          On top of aiming to use Wayland by default, another high profile change being worked on for this spring’s release of Ubuntu 21.04 is using link-time optimizations (LTO) for all 64-bit package builds.

          Joining the likes of Fedora and openSUSE who have been enabling LTO optimizations by default for their package builds, Ubuntu developers are working to flip on link-time optimizations by default with their package builds. The plan is to have LTO enabled for all 64-bit package builds, namely for x86_64 and AArch64 as most notable, but the RISC-V 64-bit support won’t see LTO at this point. POWER PPC64LE and s390x will also see LTO in addition to AArch64 and x86_64.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • The Apache News Round-up: week ending 29 January 2021

        Farewell, January –both the week and month have flown by.

      • How 1000s Of Signal Users Downloaded The App Without Meaning To

        Signal is a free and open-source app that’s available on GitHub, meaning anyone can view, download and edit the source code. As such, anyone can use the Signal code to create an app of their own and some have. Originally spotted by Vice, a Tweet from a user that simply goes by dev, explained how a friend had an account on Signal, but when asked about it they had never heard of the app. Digging into the mystery further, it turned out that an app named Call Chat had been downloaded. Call Chat had over 10,000 downloads on the Google Play Store, but has since been removed. According to Kerala Kaumudi, Call Chat was developed by a clever 12-year-old named Dheerj, as a solution to a ban on Chinese apps in the local area.

      • Why Blobs Are Important, And Why You Should Care

        If there is a price to be paid for this convenience, it comes in the form of the blob. A piece of pre-compiled binary software that does the hard work of talking to the hardware and which presents a unified API to the software. Whether you’re talking to the ESP32 WiFi through an Arduino library or booting a Raspberry Pi with a Linux distribution, while your code may be available or even maybe open source, the blob it relies upon to work is closed source and proprietary. This presents a challenge not only to Software Libre enthusiasts in search of a truly open source computer, but also to the rest of us because we are left reliant upon the willingness of the hardware manufacturer to update and patch their blobs.

        An open-source advocate would say that the solution is easy, the manufacturers should simply make their blobs open-source. And it’s true, were all blobs open-source then the Software Libre crowd would be happy and their open-source nature would ease the generation of those updates and patches. So why don’t manufacturers release their blobs as open-source? In some cases that may well be due to a closed-source mindset of never releasing anything to the world to protect company intellectual property, but to leave it at that is not a full answer. To fully understand why that is the case it’s worth looking at how our multifunctional chips are made.

      • Web Browsers

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Announcing LibreOffice New Generation – The Document Foundation Blog

          Today we’re announcing a new project: LibreOffice New Generation. This isn’t about the software, but about the people behind it. As you probably know, LibreOffice is made by a worldwide community of certified developers and volunteers, working on the source code, translations, documentation, design, QA, marketing, infrastructure and other areas.

      • CMS

        • Kiwi TCMS has applied for GSoC 2021

          Dear open source hackers, we are happy to share that Kiwi TCMS has applied to Google Summer of Code 2021 as a mentoring organization!

          While we’re very early in the program timeline and we still don’t know whether Kiwi TCMS will be accepted or not we’d like to use this opportunity and outline several areas which are good candidates for GSoC fellows to work on. Some of the tasks are also eligible for our open source bounty program. The majority of them require some knowledge of Python and Django.

        • Kiwi TCMS – Project roadmap 2021

          The big goal towards which we are striving is to turn Kiwi TCMS into a sustainable open source project.

      • Programming/Development

        • OO in Python is mostly pointless

          People bash OO a lot these days, I’m increasingly coming to the opinion they’re right, at least in Python. My point here is not to argue that OO is bad per se, more that its introduction is simply unnecessary, AKA not useful.

        • Disable Submit button if Form fields have not changed in a Nuxt/Vue app

          Forms are one of the most important aspects of any application. It is considered a good UX practice to keep the Save/Submit button disabled until the form contents have not changed. In this blog, we will take a look at how can we accomplish this behaviour in a Nuxt/Vue app.

        • GNU C Library 2.33 Should Be Out Soon – And It’s Very Exciting Due To “HWCAPS” – Phoronix

          While most Linux users likely don’t get excited when hearing of a new Glibc release, version 2.33 of the GNU C Library is due to be released next week and it’s pretty darn interesting for having the new HWCAPS functionality in opening up for more optimized out-of-the-box Linux performance moving forward.

          GNU C Library 2.33 is due for release around 1 February and is expected for Ubuntu 21.04, Fedora 34, and other upcoming distributions. While this C library update has a lot of improvements, exciting us the most is the HWCAPS work. Background on the Glibc HWCAPs work was covered last summer in Glibc-HWCAPS To Help With AMD Zen Optimizations, Other Per-CPU Performance Bits. This HWCAPS work also ties into the work that has since been picked up by GCC 11 and LLVM Clang 12 over x86_64 microarchitecture feature levels.

        • Perl/Raku

          • Perl weekly challenge 97

            You are given string $S containing alphabets A..Z only and a number $N.

            Write a script to encrypt the given string $S using Caesar Cipher with left shift of size $N.

          • The course of Raku

            I am happy to report that the first part of the Raku course is completed and published. The course is available at course.raku.org.

            The grant was approved a year and a half ago right before the PerlCon conference in Rīga. I was the organiser of the event, so I had to postpone the course due to high load. During the conference, it was proposed to rename Perl 6, which, together with other stuff, made me think if the course is needed.

            After months, the name was settled, the distinction between Perl and Raku became clearer, and, more importantly, external resourses and services, e.g., Rosettacode and glot.io started using the new name. So, now I think it is still a good idea to create the course that I dreamed about a couple of years ago. I started the main work in the middle of November 2020, and by the beginning of January 2021, I had the first part ready.

        • Python

          • Learn Python For Free: 6 Tips

            Getting started is hard, no matter what subject it is. Especially if you don’t want to spend money. You want to find Python learning resources that are both free and of the highest possible quality, so I’m sharing these tips to get started properly and learn Python for free!

          • Why Is Python So Popular?

            Fast, flexible and largely platform-agnostic, Python’s recent popularity is a story 30 years in the making. Developer.com’s Brad Jones explores the developer-friendly aspects of Python. If you’re new to the language, a basic example of using the command line interpreter to execute Python code is included as well.

    • Standards/Consortia

      • The unreasonable effectiveness of simple HTML

        But the GOV.UK pages are written in simple HTML. They are designed to be lightweight and will work even on rubbish browsers. They have to. This is for everyone.

        Not everyone has a big monitor, or a multi-core CPU burning through the teraflops, or a broadband connection.

      • Text-only* websites

        This is a directory of websites that primarily stick with simple, marked up, hyperlinked text. I appreciate these sites because they load quickly, scroll smoothly, spare my battery, are more compact, and lack the usual nonsense that infects many websites.

  • Leftovers

    • A Declaration…for Life
    • The Emerging Watershed

      Hypotheses are literally (from the Greek) “proposed for belief.” Absurdities are impossible to believe, falsehoods are not to be believed, speculations are hard to believe, and conjectures are barely believable. But hypotheses are well worth serious consideration for belief, for they are logically possible, eminently plausible and (until further notice) probable enough to warrant some benefit of doubt. We can see that they might be true, we can see how they might be true, and we are given a reasonably good chance of getting decisive evidence on the matter. We can predict, with a fair amount of certainty, what will happen in experimental settings if a hypothesis is true.

      Loyal Rue, Nature Is Enough, page 104

    • A Tale of Two Trees

      Xerxes expression of devotion is cloaked in pastoral calm, orchestral strings rustling gently.

      We don’t know yet that the king is loony and will become increasingly unhinged as the opera’s convoluted plot progresses.

    • Does Christopher Hitchens Need an Authorized Biography?

      Dear Family, Friends, Colleagues, Fellow Scribblers, Brothers & Sisters, Comrades:

    • A Gift

      What was hidden is now plain for all to see. Ruse of political correctness, now Rage Marches in combat boots, armed, mutinous

      T-shirts emblazoned, Camp Auschwitz By those who also deny its veracity. What might seem like end times is also a gift.

    • Žižek on the Žhip of Fools Again

      Reading Pandemic! 2 is kind of like looking over the Bard’s shoulders, in the early tarantella days of his career, as he peruses and muses over some NYT or Post piece about some old ‘defunct’ injustice like police brutality or racial disenfranchisement somewhere out there, away from the kitchen, where the riot squads were restless. Such a habit would account for a couple of stray songs off Desire that probably don’t belong on the same album together — “Joey” (Gallo) and “Hurricane” (Rubin Carter). Or maybe they do. WTF do I know about Mr. Alias Anything You Please, when it comes right down to it, other than what I’ve heard?

      Reading Žižek is like that. In Pandemic 1 he was called out of his bed in his ‘jamas and urgently asked to write a polemic against rising pandemic-driven values. He was up to the task. Žižek is always up to the task; he’s not like other men that way. But looking over his shoulder this time, while he was with laptop in bed, it was a little more constricted, as he had Lacan in bed with him now. Reading Žižek this go, sometimes I felt like a ménage à twat. Pandemic! 2 is largely an elaborate exercise in reader-response theory. He makes dialectical love to Hegel using a Lacanian psychoanalytic prophylactic. Noone gets hurt that way and there’s no hard feelings.

    • McCarthy-a-Lago
    • Waiting for E.T.: the Cosmic Communism of J. Posadas

      Gittlitz acknowledges that his subject is one which “many regard as marginal, cultish, weird, and silly (UFOs and Trotskyism).” Still, as The Nation noted in its review: “During the middle of the 20th century, [J. Posadas] was one of the most prominent Trotskyists in the Western Hemisphere.”

      Posadas was active in the Fourth International, founded in 1938 by the exiled Leon Trotsky and his supporters as a foil to Stalinism. In the 1950s, Posadas rose to head the Fourth International’s Latin American Bureau. Posadas & Co. broke from the Fourth International in 1962 to form their own Posadist International. The Posadist International continues to exist, along with a handful of tiny Posadist sects hanging on to life in Latin America. There are Posadist groups on Facebook, most prominently the “Intergalactic Workers’ League—Posadists.”

    • Roaming Charges: Funny Games

      + Fun and Games with Mitch: Mitch McConnell refused to reconvene the Senate before January 19 to allow Trump’s impeachment trial to start while he was still in office. Now McConnell just voted in support of the motion that Trump’s trial is unconstitutional because he’s no long in office.

      + Of course, Biden didn’t want a spectacle of an impeachment trial of Trump before the inauguration and probably doesn’t like the idea of one at all.

    • From Fractiousness to Sustainability, Is It Possible?

      The struggle of women almost everywhere in the world including the United States to overcome the many forms of abuse, depreciation, exploitation and inequality that they can be subjected to could also be added as a sixth historical current of the American story.

      All these struggles continue to this day.

    • Elizabeth Warren and the SEC Should Let the GameStop Lulz Go On

      It’s not at all clear what the SEC could do to stop what is essentially a financal market flash mob, aside from ensure that no large institutional investors are secretly in on the WallStreetBets side of the trade. If that’s the case (and it may well be, though who knows), then the SEC will probably end up taking some sort of action based on existing rules designed to prohibit fraudulent pump-and-dump schemes, where stocks are artificially boosted and sold off.

      But mostly it just goes to show the limits of Warren’s technocratic brand of populism. For years, she’s positioned herself as a defender of average Americans and a critic of big finance. And in this case, she frames her argument as an indictment of the “hedge funds, private equity firms, and wealthy investors dismayed by the GameStop trades.” Yet if the SEC were to intervene in the GameStop trades, it’s more likely it would end up doing so in a way that benefited the big hedge funds who bet on the game retailer’s fall. It would be to tip the scales against a movement that sees itself as a populist uprising.

    • The GameStop Bubble Is a Lesson in the Absurdity and Uselessness of the Stock Market

      To answer that requires explaining the concept of short selling, which most civilians find nearly incomprehensible. A short sale is a bet that a stock (or any other speculative asset, like bonds or gold) is going to decline in price. But to make that bet, you have to sell something you don’t already own, which is not normal behavior. To accomplish this, you have to borrow the stock from somebody who does own it. As with any loan, you have to pay interest on the borrowed asset. And you also have to keep some collateral on deposit with your broker as an assurance you’re good for the money. The hope is that the price will fall, and you can buy the shares — cover the short, in the jargon — at a lower price. Your profit would be the difference between the original sale price and the closing purchase price, minus any interest paid on the borrowed asset.

      But what if you’re wrong, and the price rises? Then you’re in trouble. When you buy a stock, your risk is that you could lose the entire purchase price — but no more. With short selling, if you’re wrong, there’s no predetermined limit to how much you can lose if the price keeps rising. And if the price keeps rising, your broker will demand more collateral in the form of real money. You have a choice between giving up — covering the short and taking the loss — or keep pouring more collateral into a losing position in the hope that things will finally turn your way.

    • The GameStop Reckoning Was a Long Time Coming

      The simplest explanation for what happened is that a bunch of hyper-online mischief-makers in Reddit’s r/WallStreetBets forum — a clan of self-described degenerates with user names like “dumbledoreRothIRA” and “Coldcutcombo69” — decided it would be funny and righteous (and maybe even profitable, though that part was less important) to execute a “short squeeze” by pushing up the price of GameStop’s stock, entrapping the big-money hedge funds that had bet against it.

      The strategy worked. Within two days, GameStop was the most heavily traded stock in the world, Elon Musk and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez got behind the revolt, and r/WallStreetBets users were posting screenshots of their suddenly inflated account balances. The scheme’s originator, whose Reddit user name is unprintable in a family paper, claims to have turned an initial investment of $50,000 into a windfall of more than $40 million. One of the hedge funds that had shorted GameStop’s stock, Melvin Capital, had to get a $2.75 billion bailout from two other investors after it was hammered with huge losses.

    • ‘It took me ages to sleep’: Facebook moderators on the things they can’t unsee

      But though content moderation is core to its business, Facebook outsources this work. Workers feel left to carry the burden of rapidly processed graphic content without proper care or support, and are bound to secrecy in their contracts.

      Ibrahim has decided to speak out. Today, he will be one of the workers’ representatives who meets Tánaiste and Minister for Trade, Enterprise & Employment, Leo Varadkar.

      The workers, and a London-based digital justice group that advocates on their behalf, Foxglove, believe it will be the first time a government politician anywhere in the world has met moderators to discuss their grievances.

    • Education

      • Dead Teachers Can’t Teach

        Tennessee lawmakers are threatening to defund schools that refuse to return to in-person learning. The pressure campaign is aimed squarely at Memphis and Nashville, which serve mostly Black and Latino students and have been online-only since spring 2020.

    • Hardware

      • The chargers that should not exist

        ZDNet recently discussed whether MagSafe, Apple’s new wireless charging connector for the iPhone 12, is overpriced hype, or do we actually like it. That piece explains that this version of MagSafe (there are older technologies with the same name) is both a magnetic induction charging and a magnetic connector technology. These are the most important characteristics, as far as this post is concerned:

    • Health/Nutrition

      • New Vaccine Is So Far 100 Percent Effective at Preventing Hospitalization
      • ‘Gut Punch’: Invite-Only Vaccine Clinics in Seattle Area Spark Ire

        “The rich got advantages in the healthcare system long before Covid, but when we’re in a plague you expect everybody to follow the rules.”

      • Medicare For All Reaches the Crossroads

        It’s no surprise then that Medicare For All emerged, pre-Covid, as the most popular policy during the Presidential Democratic primaries. But after the Democratic Party organized, once again, to crush Bernie Sanders’ campaign, Biden tried to push discourse away from Medicare For All with plans to “improve Obamacare” a goal as ambitious as “patching up the Hindenburg.”

        The failures of Obamacare — the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — are many, though among the biggest is the ever-rising unaffordability of healthcare, which is the main reason people surveyed said they were uninsured (the average family premium has risen 54% since 2009, a number that continues to rise quickly). The universal healthcare that the ACA was to create has fallen short by tens of millions while an additional tens of millions of insured people are “under-insured,” meaning they can’t afford to use their insurance during a pandemic that’s pushing masses of people into hospitals.

      • Dissenter Weekly: Migrant Farmworker Prevails After Whistleblower Complaint Over Lack Of COVID-19 Safety

        For this edition of “Dissenter Weekly,” host and Shadowproof editor Kevin Gosztola highlights multiple whistleblower stories related to federal government corruption and corporate malfeasance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

        Later, Kevin provides an update on the return of Boeing 737 MAX aircrafts to the skies and why one known whistleblower is still warning of potential tragedies.The show concludes with coverage of Josh Schulte, the ex-CIA engineer who is in harsh confinement at MCC New York awaiting a second trial on Espionage Act charges. The U.S. government will not back down and insists he is the source of “Vault 7” documents that were published by WikiLeaks, although they failed to convince a jury of this during Schulte’s trial in March.

      • The Mad Monk Strikes: Tony Abbott, Taxi Rides and Coronavirus Despotism

        In a video presentation for the IPA, an organisation claiming with decidedly arbitrary taste that the quality of Australian life has declined by 28.5% since 2000, Abbott insists that Australia has “much to be proud of”.  But coronavirus rules enacted “for our own good” were dangerous, threatening “freedom and self-reliance”.  A virus had been allowed to “dominate our lives” for a whole year, “and in the process put safety before freedom, prudence before courage and avoiding danger before accepting risk.”  Experts had become a high priest caste, with the populace “conditioned to have [them] give us all the answers and to have governments then tell us what to do.”

        Abbott sees much gloom on the horizon for the “Australian way of life” under assault by “virus hysteria and health despotism”.  Trodden upon were such entitlements as sitting in the front seat of taxis “along with singing, dancing and having too many friends and family around for a barbecue.”  A closet Bohemian is old Tony.

      • Airplane: COVID 19 Edition

        It has been a long time since airplane travel was luxurious. Hell, it’s been a long time since it’s been comfortable. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has made it even less so. Indeed, it’s isn’t even convenient.

        It was midday January 22, 2020. The Burlington, VT airport was as empty as airports used to be at two in the morning when one transferred during a redeye going from Newark to Oakland. I hadn’t even set foot in an airport since February 2020, but a parent’s medical crisis had forced my hand. I have never driven in my life and the train service to Vermont had been cut off last May. I overcame my apprehension and bought a ticket. I noticed while scanning flights on the internet that the direct flight between Burlington and Washington DC’s National Airport no longer existed. It had always been my choice before the pandemic. Quick and without stops, I often ran into Bernie Sanders on the ride, his legs sprawled in front of him in Coach. Patrick Leahy always rode first class. I would not be spending any time in the belly of the beast this visit. Not even on the metro.

      • Let Them Eat Cake… And Catch COVID, Argues Labor’s Katy Gallagher

        Tackling the global pandemic through vaccine equity is in everybody’s interest… except maybe people living in rich countries, and Labor Senators. Geoff Russell explains.

      • Air Quality Regulators in “Cancer Alley” Have Fallen Dangerously Behind

        The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality needs to do a better job of identifying industrial polluters that don’t properly report emission violations, and it should enforce those violations more aggressively, according to a new management audit by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s office.

        Many of the audit’s findings tracked those of a 2019 investigation by The Times-Picayune, The Advocate and ProPublica.

      • Amid Broader Concerns Over Biden USDA Nominee, Watchdog Flags ‘Disturbing Suppression’ of Science by Vilsack

        “Unless he pledges to implement significant safeguards for scientists, Tom Vilsack should not be confirmed. The days in which federal agencies function as scientific gulags should be behind us.”

      • My Housemate is Missing: Dementia in the Time of the Pandemic

        Gretel is 85, has short term memory loss and suffers from dementia, a brain disease that comes with aging and that affects some 50 million people worldwide. It can play havoc with families like Gretel’s and individuals like Gretel herself who suffer from it. I have written about dementia in order to humanize it

        Over the past several decades, it has been mapped and explored by caregivers and by the patients they have helped in part  by making the disease less of a stigma. The titles of works include, “My Mad Dad,” “Remember” and “I’m Your Daughter, Julie: Caring for a Patient with Dementia.” (See the website, Alzauthors.com) While there is no known cure, essays and stories about it seem to reduce anxieties and fears.

      • Dr. Hooman Noorchashm: Used by RFK Jr. to spread fear of COVID-19 vaccines?

        On Monday, I discussed some of the efforts by antivaxxers to try to undermine confidence in COVID-19 vaccines, noting how they were continuing apace. As I put it at the time, every pre-pandemic antivaccine trope in the book had already been picked up, dusted off, and recycled for use with COVID-19, including lies claiming that the vaccine renders females infertile, permanently alters your DNA, causes autoimmune disease, or even kills. Even though it occurs to me that, given the torrent of disinformation about vaccines being spread by the antivaccine movement about not just the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, but all COVID-19 vaccines being developed and tested, I could easily turn this blog into nothing but posted entitled Antivaxxers’ efforts to undermine confidence in COVID-19 vaccines continue apace, parts 1 through infinity, I thought it worthwhile to followup on Monday’s post with a new example that I’ve come across. Besides, I have a long-running series entitled The annals of “I’m not antivaccine” that’s already up to part 27, but part 1 dates back to 2010. I fear I could get up to part 27 of this new series before summer if I’m not careful. But first, let’s meet Dr. Hooman Noorchashm, who is, inadvertently (I think) providing the antivaccine movement with a major new talking point. It’s not clear whether he gave permission to antivaxxers to republish his article, but it sure looks as though he probably did.

      • New Report From Rep. Katie Porter Reveals How Big Pharma Pursues ‘Killer Profits’ at the Expense of Americans’ Health

        “It’s time we reevaluate the standards for approving these mergers. It’s time we pass legislation to lower drug prices. And it’s time we rethink the structure of leadership at big pharmaceutical companies.”

      • Opinion | Why Has the Vaccine Rollout Been So Slow? Answer: Big Pharma Patent Monopolies

        In a normal flu season, close to 2 million shots are given every day, without any heroic efforts by the government. Given the urgency of getting the pandemic under control, it is hard to understand why we could not have administered shots at this pace, if not considerably faster.

      • As Fears Grow Over Covid Vaccine Delays, Watchdog Asks: ‘Why Are We Allowing Big Pharma’s Patents to Artificially Limit Supply?’

        “It’s just wrong that big business is deciding who gets vaccinated, with zero transparency. We must scrap patents and massively scale up production globally.”

      • The Senate Trial of Trump Won’t Get Anyone Vaccinated Prevent Future George Floyds

        Had a private person done what Donald Trump did on January 6, he would be criminally liable for inciting a riot or advocating destruction of government property.  This was not protected free speech.  Under the Supreme Court’s Brandenburg v. Ohio test for what is protected speech, language which advocates imminent lawlessness is not guaranteed by the First Amendment.  But even if it were protected free speech, Donald Trump at the time was no ordinary citizen–he was the president of the United States, and a higher code of conduct governs his behavior.  His duties under Article II of the Constitution to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed,” or his oath of office  charging him to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution” make what he did wrong.

        Impeachment would be the remedy were he still in office.  One can be impeached for “treason, bribery, or high crimes and misdemeanors.”  Treason is defined as waging war against the United States.  Declaring elections to be stolen when they were not and advocating the use of violence to overturn them certainly sounds like treason.  But if not, they certainly constitute a high crime and misdemeanor, which the constitutional framers understood to mean non or malfeasance or simply the inability to perform one’s expected duties.  All that fits Donald Trump.

      • Mutated South African variant reaches US; Covid rampaged country goes into high alert

        The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control revealed that the two detected cases are adults from different regions of the state, and do not appear to be connected. It should also be noted that neither of the two coronavirus patients has any recent travel history.

        “That’s frightening. It’s probably more widespread,” said Dr. Krutika Kuppalli, an infectious diseases physician at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.

      • Sewage monitoring study shows high level of coronavirus

        Results of a wastewater monitoring study conducted by the University of Tartu show that the spread of the coronavirus remains extensive in Estonia and the number of samples containing a large amount of the virus has grown.

      • WHO inspector caught on camera revealing coronavirus manipulation in Wuhan before pandemic

        Based on Daszak’s statements, it appears that just before the start of the pandemic, the WIV was using GoF experiments with chimeras in an attempt to create a vaccine. These experiments appeared to have included infecting mice genetically modified to express the human ACE2 protein with these chimeras.

        In a presentation titled “Assessing Coronavirus Threats,” which was delivered four years before the pandemic in 2015, Daszak points out that experiments involving humanized mice have the highest degree of risk. Demonstrating his close ties with the WIV, he also listed the lab as a collaborator at the end of the presentation.

      • Not Knowing What You Stand For: Dr. Birx and Public Health

        When she was made coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, Deborah Birx was taking the position with a hefty resume, heavily credentialed by such achievements as being the US global AIDS coordinator during the Obama administration. Former US Secretary of State John Kerry had said of her in 2014 that she “embodies the best of what it means to be a pioneer, to be a practitioner, and a public servant all rolled into one.”

        With such bountiful praise, the risk of disembodiment and unravelling is never far. Birx began to get increasingly undone as the pandemic started to gallop through the United States. President Donald Trump, true to his singular method of managing staff, came up with what can only be described as an alternative universe of suggestion and data. Filled with mishaps, keen misreading and a certain astrological quality, the views conveyed to Trump on how best to cope with COVID-19 were not so much quashed by Birx as gently fielded.

      • India’s Farmer Strike: “We Have Marched Before, We Will March Again”
      • Opinion | Time to Take the Mittens Off!

        “If you like the Bernie meme, you’re going to love Healthcare For All.”

      • Biden’s Buddy Tom Vilsack Is No Friend to Farmers

        Winterset, Iowa—As President Joe Biden takes office, he continues to call for unity, hoping moderates in both parties can work together. However, viewing unity as merely a convergence between opposing poles on the spectrum of American politics—ignoring economic populism’s role in the last decade—is an oversimplification. Viewing the country only in red and blue often leads Democrats to ignore rural areas, assuming they’ll always go red; this ignorance has led Biden straight to a man who rural Democrats and Republicans agree is no friend to farmers: former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack.

      • Share the Technology: Experts Say We Must End Big Pharma Monopoly on COVID Vaccine Supply & Price

        As rich countries race to roll out their vaccination programs, leaders in the Global South and global health advocates are increasingly decrying vaccine hoarding that has pushed poorer countries to the back of the line during the pandemic. Some rich countries have secured enough COVID-19 vaccines to inoculate their populations several times over, while poorer countries struggle to secure enough doses, almost certainly prolonging the pandemic by months or even years. Public health policy expert Dr. Mohga Kamal-Yanni says an obvious way to address the issue is to share technology so more companies in more countries can produce the vaccines. “There is a supply issue,” she says. “We’re in a pandemic. We need to vaccinate a big percentage of the population globally if we want to be safe.”

      • ‘A Win for Reproductive Freedom’: Rights Advocates Applaud After Biden Rescinds Global Gag Rule

        Advocates are also urging the president and Congress to go further to protect and expand rights and access to reproductive healthcare.

      • ‘Fight Against This Deadly Virus Far From Over’: First Cases of South African Variant Detected in US

        “Unless we truly, as a nation, come together and follow public health guidance to flatten the curve, as that strain becomes more commonplace, we will see the numbers go up dramatically.”

      • New Government Report Details How Trump Failed Covid-19 Response ‘Across the Board’

        The GAO reveals that even after the agency “made 27 different recommendations aimed at improving the response, the Trump administration failed to implement them.”

      • Worldwide Anti-Science Movement Threatens Pandemic Response and Public Health
      • Dr. Peter Hotez: “Globalized Anti-Science Movement” Threatens Pandemic Response & Public Health

        The Biden administration has vowed to increase the rate of vaccinations as COVID-19 continues to spread uncontrollably across the entire U.S., with 90,000 people predicted to die in the next four weeks. President Biden announced plans to acquire another 200 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines made by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech and is devising ways to allow retired nurses and doctors to administer vaccines. Dr. Peter Hotez, co-director of the Center for Vaccine Development at Texas Children’s Hospital and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, says the Trump administration’s lies and inaction around the pandemic laid the groundwork for the current explosion in cases. He also warns that a “globalized anti-science movement” has grown stronger in recent years, spreading dangerous disinformation and threatening the public health response to COVID-19. “It’s a killer, because now people are tying their political allegiance to not getting vaccinated, to not wearing marks, to not social distancing.”

      • Why aren’t therapeutic antibodies being used more to treat COVID-19?

        When former President Donald Trump contracted COVID-19 in fall 2020, he was treated with monoclonal antibodies, touted as potentially miraculous treatments. Unlike other treatments so touted, there is some rigorous evidence to support these assertions: antibody drugs look like the best treatments currently available to prevent COVID cases from progressing to hospitalization. But months later, the drugs are in limited use and seem to be only a moderately important part of the COVID-19 response. Why aren’t antibodies making more of a difference for ordinary Americans?

        [...]

        Transparency and coordination will also be critical to improving patient access to distributed antibodies. Many newly diagnosed COVID-19 patients do not know that these treatments are available, and even patients who do know about them and ask their providers about them often have not been able to access them. Patients must be provided with information about how to obtain access to these new therapies, but this type of information could be provided in many different ways. Perhaps people who receive a positive test could also receive information about accessing antibody treatment along with that positive test. Or perhaps states could publicize information about how to obtain these treatments, along with their public information about vaccine distribution and access.

        Policymakers at the state and federal level might also consider encouraging private sector actors to develop novel distribution pathways to lower the logistical barriers to accessing care, some of which is already occurring. As part of their clinical trial, Eli Lilly retrofitted RVs as mobile infusion clinics to allow them to reach residents of nursing homes more easily. Several chains of dialysis clinics, which have the ability to provide outpatient infusions, have begun to administer the new drugs. Pharmaceutical firms may also be encouraged to invest in developing versions of these drugs which are easier to administer, such as inhaled antibody products.

        The rapid development of therapeutic antibodies, like the rapid development of effective vaccines, is a triumph of biomedical innovation. But ultimately, even the best products won’t help unless they make it to patients. Ensuring the last step is just as critical as facilitating the steps that come before.

      • Covid-19: Norway investigates 23 deaths in frail elderly patients after vaccination
    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Security

          • This Week In Security: Sudo, Database Breaches, And Ransomware

            Sudo is super important Linux utility, as well as the source of endless jokes. What’s not a joke is CVE-2021-3156, a serious vulnerability around incorrect handling of escape characters. This bug was discovered by researchers at Qualys, and has been in the sudo codebase since 2011. If you haven’t updated your Linux machine in a couple days, you may very well be running the vulnerable sudo binary still. There’s a simple one-liner to test for the vulnerability:

            sudoedit -s ‘\’ `perl -e ‘print “A” x 65536′`

          • The Taxman Cometh for ID Theft Victims

            The unprecedented volume of unemployment insurance fraud witnessed in 2020 hasn’t abated, although news coverage of the issue has largely been pushed off the front pages by other events. But the ID theft problem is coming to the fore once again: Countless Americans will soon be receiving notices from state regulators saying they owe thousands of dollars in taxes on benefits they never received last year.

          • [Cracked] therapy centre Vastaamo goes into liquidation [iophk: Windows TCO]

            The private mental health services company Vastaamo, which has been at the centre of a [cracking] and blackmail scandal since October, has been placed into liquidation.

            The decision was made by the company’s owners, management and board of directors at an emergency general meeting held on Thursday and announced in a Friday morning press release.

          • You cannot manage your supply chain – Open Source Security

            What a year it’s been! I feel like 2021 went by like a … it’s still January???

            So it’s pretty much impossible to ignore any of the events of the last month. I want to talk about something that’s near and dear to my heart, and in the news, not for a good reason. Software supply chains. This is probably a dreadful topic to most, but I love software supply chains. I was talking about them before anyone was even thinking about them. I’m not going to pull a “get off my lawn” here, I think it’s cool everyone is starting to care. I want to talk about how to be realistic about your supply chain. Almost all advice I’ve seen of the last month has been terrible, so I’m going to also give some terrible advice.

            I will start with the usual advice for the worst suggestion every time supply chain discussions happen: You cannot remove all the open source from your supply chain. Even suggesting this would be comparable to making your organization build a coal power plant to go off grid for power. Anyone who suggests this should not be taken seriously.

            Now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about a software supply chain. I wrote a lovely (at least I think it’s lovely) piece about this during Secadvent for DevSecCon. Just go read it, I’m not going to rehash the details here.

          • diffoscope 166 released

            The diffoscope maintainers are pleased to announce the release of diffoscope version 166. This version includes the following changes:

            [ Chris Lamb ]
            * New features and bugfixes:
              - Explicitly remove our top-level temporary directory.
                (Closes: #981123, reproducible-builds/diffoscope#234)
              - Increase fuzzy matching threshold to 130 ensure that we show more
                differences. (Closes: reproducible-builds/diffoscope#232)
              - Save our sys.argv in our top-level temporary directory in case it
                helps debug current/errant temporary directories.
              - Prefer to use "magic.Magic" over the "magic.open" compatibility
                interface. (Closes: reproducible-builds/diffoscope#236)
              - Reduce fuzzy threshold to 110 to prevent some test failures.
                (Closes: reproducible-builds/diffoscope#233)
            
            * Output improvements:
              - Show fuzzyness amount in percentage terms, not out of the
                rather-arbitrary "400".
              - Improve the logging of fuzzy matching.
              - Print the free space in our temporary directory when we create it, not
                from within diffoscope.main.
            
            * Codebase improvements:
              - Tidy the diffoscopecomparators.utils.fuzzy module.
              - Update my copyright years.
              - Clarify the grammar of a comment.
              - Clarify in a comment that __del__ is not always called, so temporary
                directories are not neccessary removed the *moment* they go out of scope.
            
            [ Conrad Ratschan ]
            * Fix U-Boot Flattened Image Tree ("FIT") image detection for larger image
              files. (MR: reproducible-builds/diffoscope!75)

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Arizona High Court Misses Opportunity to Uphold Internet Users’ Online Privacy

              But in a disappointing decision earlier this month, the Arizona Supreme Court rejected a warrant requirement for services to disclose Internet users’ activities and other information to law enforcement, a setback for people’s privacy online.

              In a 4-3 opinion, the Arizona high court ruled in State v. Mixton that people do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in information held by online services that record their online activities, such as IP address logs. According to the Court, that information is not protected by either the federal Constitution’s Fourth Amendment or the state’s constitution, because people disclose that information to third-party online services whenever they use them, a legal principle known as the third-party doctrine.

              The decision is wrong. As EFF, ACLU, and the ACLU of Arizona argued in a friend-of-the-court brief, “Individuals today conduct the vast majority of their expressive lives through technology. As a result, we entrust the most sensitive information imaginable—about our politics, religion, families, finances, health, and sexual lives—to third parties.” 

            • Police Chief Demands Holes In Encryption Because Some Cops Decided To Participate In The DC Insurrection

              As more evidence comes to light showing a disturbing amount of law enforcement participation in the January 6th attack on the Capitol, police departments around the nation are finally being forced to face something they’ve ignored for far too long.

            • Only 39% feel HR understood requirements to work in a cybersecurity team: Survey

              Cyberbit, a leading provider of Cyber Skills Development Platforms, has revealed the results of the first annual Cyberbit SOC Skills Survey.

              Among key revelations relating to the full lifecycle of security operations and incident response staff, the 2020 SOC Skills Survey suggests Information Security leadership needs to educate Human Resources departments at the hiring stage, as they are currently unprepared and missing critical knowledge for defining security roles.

              According to the report, just 39 per cent of respondents felt that HR understood the requirements to work in a cybersecurity team. On average, respondents believed that SOC teams were about 50 per cent prepared across the entire range of skills provided.

            • Facebook Is Hated — and Rich

              Facebook may be an indefensible company that normalizes invasive tracking of people for dollars. It’s a place where extremists have ricocheted hate around the world. It may be melting our brains. And it’s being sued or prodded by so many governments that I have lost count. You might hate it. I might hate it? But I almost can’t believe how many of us rely on Facebook, and how stupidly successful it is.

              The company said on Wednesday that its sales — nearly all of which come from the ads it sells on Facebook, on Instagram and its other apps — reached nearly $86 billion in 2020 and are growing rapidly, as my colleague Mike Isaac detailed here. Each day, 2.6 billion people use at least one of Facebook’s apps, and the user numbers are still rising.

            • Is it the end of the road for TikTok in India?

              Seven months after it was suddenly banned in the country, TikTok appears to have run out of doors to knock on in India.

              The Bytedance-owned company is downsizing its India team, a Jan. 27 Reuters report said, without specifying the number of people who are being laid off.

            • sq, Sequoia PGP’s CLI, Released

              Last month we released version 1.0 of our versatile, low-level OpenPGP library, sequoia-openpgp. Now we have released the first version of sq, version 0.23, which is meant for general use.

              sq is a command-line tool that intends to expose much (but not all!) of the functionality that the library provides. Although we fully intend for sq to be an OpenPGP swiss army knife, and that the truly arcane should—in general—be possible, we firstly want sq to be usable by humans at the command line. We understand this to mean that it should be possible to use sq to tweak and twiddle OpenPGP data. But, those who have the desire to use Sequoia to frob it will need to use the library. And, they are probably better served by it anyway.

              [...]

              Until now, we haven’t published sq on crates.io, and we’ve discouraged packagers from including it in their distribution. We now think that sq is ready for general use. If you have suggestions, please reach out.

            • Open Letter to Facebook and Google

              The combined effect of these inconsistent policies is to create a two-tiered user base within each platform, with a wide regulatory gap separating the transparency haves and have-nots. We first highlighted these problems in 2019. While some progress has been made since, we are disappointed to conclude that the transparency divide persists.

              Online transparency should not be a privilege of the few, but the right of all. To that end, the changes we believe are necessary are as follows: [...]

            • Cellebrite: Israel’s Good Cyber Cop is Big Tech’s Backdoor to Breaching Your Privacy

              Privacy and security have long-been one of the top selling points for iOS devices in the interminable marketing fracas between Apple and its competitors, with fancy additions to their suite of protection features like fingerprint scanning and facial recognition. Android devices, by contrast, always seemed to lag behind in the personal encryption space, but have caught up fairly recently in the consumer’s mind, at least.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Progressives Applaud Rob Malley, Key Nuclear Deal Negotiator, as Biden’s Special Envoy for Iran

        “Malley should be celebrated for his ability to understand how adversaries see problems and find common ground, for this is the art of diplomacy.”

      • A Progressive Agenda for Biden’s Foreign Policy

        That means focusing on domestic problems rather than on foreign policy crusading, relying on diplomacy before making threats and imposing sanctions, redefining the national interest with an eye toward real friends and urgent issues, and finding common ground with adversaries, starting with China, while remaining faithful to our ideals.

        These priorities offer a window on specific issues that confront the Biden administration’s foreign policy team.

      • Opinion | If Biden Is Serious About Saving the Planet, He Should End US Military Domination Across the Globe

        It would save American taxpayers billions of dollars and diminish the threat to the American people—and to the world.

      • Nukes are Illegal, Now What?

        Let’s not let this moment flicker and die, to be replaced, with a despairing shrug, by business as usual. Donald Trump shattered the centrist political norms, sent chaos rippling through the corridors of power. Now he’s gone. We have to look through the cracks — these cracks in American exceptionalism — and see what’s possible. We have to make sure Joe Biden sees it as well.

        And what’s possible is geopolitics beyond borders. What’s possible is addressing the truly profound threats that the planet — and the future — face, among them climate change and, with even more immediacy, nuclear war. The necessity for total nuclear disarmament — including American disarmament, for God’s sake — is more urgent than ever. This is bigger, by far, than reinstating the Iran nuclear agreement, necessary as that is. We must move beyond the world’s fragile pseudo-peace maintained by the threat of Armageddon. The time to move beyond this insanity is now.

      • Three Steps to Prevent Future Election Violence

        Ahead of the Capitol insurrection, the U.S. met several criteria that increased the likelihood of election violence: pay-to-pay politics, weak electoral management bodies, ongoing conflict and division, and civil unrest and violence against protesters.

        Meeting even one of these criteria would have been concerning. We met them all.

      • Yemeni Families File Petition Against US for ‘Unlawful’ Killing of Scores of Relatives

        “It’s a life with constant fear,” one of the petitioners said. “You’re always afraid to leave the village because you think you might be mistaken and targeted.”

      • Hundreds of 2021 Insurrectionists May Get Off While 700 Pentagon Protesters Got Arrested and Jailed in 1967

        Take a look at the lower photo above showing the image the Inquirer ran with my letter of the 2006 Capitol building attackers, girded for violence and swarming the Capitol Police (who are showing amazing restraint) and consider how most of those wannabe insurrections may now perhaps escape any prosecution as federal prosecutors express concern about “congesting” the court system.

        Now take a close look at top image above showing the peacefully seated protesters “occupying” the front mall entrance to the Pentagon in ’67. You can clearly see the confrontational federal troops threatening the protesters with their rifles, and also a white-helmeted federal marshal gratuitously and violently beating protesters’ about their heads and shoulders with his wooden baton  as they just sit calmly in place.  Some 700 or more of us peaceful protesters were eventually yanked away by those marshals and were beaten as we were dragged to vans and buses to be hauled off to a federal prison in Occoquan, Virginia. All those of us who were snatched away were charged with various offenses, often grossly inflated. Many of those I shared a dormitory cell with were injured during their arrests, some seriously, and I only saw perhaps at most 100 of those arrested at the time. (For a contemporaneous account of my experience being busted and jailed at the ’67 Pentagon demonstration, click here.)

      • American Hegemony Is Ending With a Whimper, Not a Bang

        After four years of Donald Trump’s fitful tenure, America is awakening from a long, troubled sleep to discover, like the fictional character Rip Van Winkle, that the world it once knew has changed beyond all recognition.

      • Woman injured by St. Petersburg policeman appeals to state investigators over criminal case

        After getting kicked in the stomach by a St. Petersburg policeman on January 23 and being hospitalized for her injuries twice, Margarita Yudina has submitted an appeal to the Russian Investigative Committee with the help of lawyers from the human rights group “Team 29.” 

      • The NAM and Democracy

        What does the NAM mean in terms of the classic formation of fascism in which big business supports imperialist, racist and sexist leaders such as Trump? I ask in terms of a Trump rioter shouting out inside the Capitol: “It’s our house.”

        I agree with that. However, I disagree in the way the shouter intended, e.g., for white supremacy to reign. Think of Trump scapegoating racial minorities. Take his support for the Confederate monuments and other lethal symbols of black slavery.

      • The Dragon Has Woken and Washington Should Engage With It

        We don’t know the answer, but he is certainly prepared to send his military into situations in which there is a high probability of combat, as in the South China Sea where at the moment an aircraft carrier strike group led by the USS Theodore Roosevelt is doing its best to provoke China to take action against it.  If this happens, stand by for major conflict.

        It’s the same with the island of Taiwan, taken over by dissidents who fled from the victorious military of the Chinese Communist Party, seventy years ago. Obviously, the government in Beijing continues to assert that the island is part of the People’s Republic, just like Hainan and a host of other islands off its shores, but Washington doesn’t agree and for many years has gone out of its way to support the breakaway state.  There are no formal ties to or treaties with Taiwan, but the Biden State Department lost no time in announcing on January 23 that “Our commitment to Taiwan is rock-solid and contributes to the maintenance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and within the region” which inflammatory avowal annoyed Beijing just as much as was intended and raised tensions and diminished stability in the region.

      • Chinese Troops Don’t Mass at Maine Border!

        Though the article didn’t specify, I presumed they meant the Maine-Canada border, not the Maine-New Hampshire border, and living only 122 miles from the Maine-Canada border, I thought I had better go check it out before invading Chinese troops complicated my upcoming ski trip to Sugarloaf.

        I figured the Chinese probably spoke better English than French and would thus be more likely to mass on the New Brunswick-Maine border than the Quebec-Maine border, and in any event the New Brunswick border is six miles closer, so I might as well start there, what with carbon and global warming and all that.

      • How Biden’s Policy Could Bring Positive Changes to the American West

        The Order points out, “America’s farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners have an important role to play in combating the climate crisis and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, by sequestering carbon in soils, grasses, trees, and other vegetation and sourcing sustainable bioproducts and fuels.” On private lands, with intensive management, plowing compost or even manure into soils can result in near-term carbon inputs, and to the extent that perennial crops replace annual crops, or are mixed in, long-term deposits could be made to soil carbon banks.

        On western public lands, plowing in soil additives would be impossible without destroying native plant communities (which would harm, not help, carbon sequestration), but there are other ways that changing agricultural practices could increase soil carbon. Most obvious is to pare down excessive levels of livestock grazing to the point where native perennial grasses, soil crusts, and shrubs can thrive. The heavy levels of livestock grazing all too typical on federally managed lands today have been destroying long-lived perennial grasses for more than a century, fueling the spread of a highly flammable annual weed called cheatgrass. Cheatgrass dies each year, giving up its carbon, and perhaps worse yet it burns readily when dead and dry, and the resulting fires wipe out long-lived shrubs that are essential not just for sequestering carbon but for habitat for sage grouse and other wildlife. The cheatgrass infestations that follow overgrazing turn deserts and steppes that are major carbon immobilizers – better even than forests because the carbon is underground, where it doesn’t burn off periodically – into landscapes that are hemorrhaging carbon into the atmosphere.

      • The American Farce Unravels: Shreds of January 6th

        This event, which featured a cast of costumed characters that turned the Capitol into the Mos Eisley Cantina for a couple of hours, was the culmination of five years of farcical politics increasingly unhinged from the ability to think reasonably about, let alone effectively address, the real dangers and injustices accumulating in our country and the world, The ground work of that was decades the of Fox vs. CNN/MSNBC universe of mutually-assured ideological degradation

        That Was the Year That Was

      • Africa’s Last Colony: UN Must Hold Long-Overdue Vote for Self-Determination in Western Sahara

        Following nearly 100 years of colonization by Spain, and 45 years of brutal occupation, settler colonialism, exploitation of natural resources, and ethnic cleansing by Morocco since 1975, the people of the Western Sahara have been pushed to the brink of war. On Nov. 10, Morocco broke through a United Nations buffer zone and launched a military operation in the Sahrawi town of Guergerat on the border with Mauritania. This act of belligerence effectively ended a 29-year ceasefire brokered and monitored by the United Nations, igniting the Indigenous population to resume its armed liberation struggle in self-defense. On Dec. 10, Morocco announced that it was normalizing relations with Israel, to which the United States delivered a tandem quid pro quo: it recognized Moroccan sovereignty over the Western Sahara and announced the sale of $1 billion in drones, Apache helicopters and precision-guided weapons to Morocco.

      • America’s Half a Century of War in Somalia Comes to an End. Sort Of

        Like so many of the conflicts around the world today, the ongoing war in Somalia dates back to the proxy wars between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. With the latter now a historical relic, American involvement in the East African nation has continued under the guise of the “war on terror,” in order to maintain a geopolitical edge in the Horn of Africa.

      • How Washington Rules the World

        Vijay Prashad documents this shameful U.S. history in his new book, Washington Bullets, whose litany of CIA depredations is enough to cause outright despair. The opportunities lost. Human history thwarted. Virtuous leaders cut down precisely because they were virtuous. Heroes murdered. Plans to improve millions of lives just shattered.  The cumulative portrait is beyond distressing. This portrait, this book is about how the U.S. rules the world, about raw power and how amoral, bloody and criminal such power is. As Evo Morales writes in the introduction, the U.S. has justified its assassinations, coups, and massacres as “the fight against communism, followed by the fight against drug trafficking and now, the fight against terrorism.” What will the next fight be? Doubtless something to do with Great Power Competition, something needless and nuclear.

        An abbreviated list of U.S. coups and assassinations against assorted socialists and democrats includes the overthrow of Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh in Iran in 1953, that of President Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954 – for daring to  threaten the profits of a company, United Fruit, in which state department officials held shares; the ouster and subsequent execution of heroic Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba of the Congo in 1961; the overthrow of Prime Minister Abd al-Karim Qasim in Iraq in 1963; the 1964 removal of President Joao Goulart in Brazil and of President Kusno Sukarno of Indonesia in 1965; the ouster of President Juan Jose Torres of Bolivia in 1971; the 1973 overthrow of President Salvador Allende in Chile; and other violent and brutal regime changes.

      • The Trump-Biden Transition in the Wake of the Capitol Building Riot

        Trump may have been booted off the mainstage, but the next act promises to be worse. Beyond the particularities of either Mr. Trump’s or Mr. Biden’s personalities or even the parties they represent, fundamental institutional factors have and will likely determine the trajectory of neoliberal capitalism towards an ever more authoritarian state, austerity for workers, and imperialism abroad.

        Trajectory of neoliberalism

      • The Militarized Academy: Knowledge for What?

        In the academic world there are Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) programs, taught by military and civilian faculty, training of foreign military and civic leaders, and other channels of military influence such as the Intelligence Community Scholars Program. Many trustees and executives have military connections, and institutions don’t shun the lucrative weapons corporations investments. The enormous network of military institutes, e.g., the Naval War College, increasingly collaborate with our apparently “civilian” universities. Another aspect, the militarization of science research, is the main issue here. It is not new, but current developments deserve a look.

        Public universities, private universities, colleges and junior colleges receive enormous DoD research contracts. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) usually leads the pack with annual funds in billions. Weapons corporations funding is also greatly welcomed by our higher education institutions.

      • How to Do “Regime Change” Correctly: a Blueprint for the Biden Administration

        The 1979 Iranian revolution ended the reign of the Shah and his human rights abuses. But the Islamic Republic that emerged was not much better than the Shah in tolerating dissent and respecting civil liberties. However, unlike the Shah the new government was not only independent of the West but was hostile to it. Indeed, soon after the revolution some foreign firms, including American firms, were nationalized in Iran. Then came the attack on the “nest of spies” (the American Embassy) and the detention of its occupants.

        What followed was more than four decades of attempts by Western imperial powers, headed by the US, to overthrow the new “regime” in Iran. I put regime in quotation marks since, according to the same imperial powers, any government that is unfriendly to the West is simply a regime and any friendly colonialist or despot, even if it dismembers a journalist, is a government or even a “kingdom.”

      • If Biden Wants to Confront White Supremacy, He Must Also End the “War on Terror”
      • It’s good to be the president Meduza spoke to contractors who helped build Vladimir Putin’s alleged seaside palace. Also, new blueprints reveal a subterranean fortress, multiple ‘aqua-discos,’ and more.

        Earlier this month, Alexey Navalny and his team of anti-corruption researchers published an investigative report about a lavish seaside palace supposedly built as a private retreat for Vladimir Putin. Despite expressing “zero interest” in Navalny’s allegations, the Kremlin has spent much of the past two weeks repeatedly and energetically trying to refute the “palace” story. Navalny’s two-hour documentary film (which has now been viewed more than 101 million times on YouTube) features drone footage of a grandiose residence on Cape Idokopas — a private construction project known formally on paperwork as “the Praskoveyevka Pensionat.” According to Navalny’s calculations, more than 100 billion rubles ($1.3 billion) has been spent to build the retreat. The money supposedly came from the president’s friends and various affiliated firms. To learn more about Vladimir Putin’s supposed sanctuary, Meduza tracked down multiple people who spent years working at the construction site in Praskoveyevka, and we studied documents related to the project. 

      • Moscow court places Alexey Navalny’s associates under house arrest

        Moscow’s Tverskoy District Court has placed Oleg Navalny, the brother of jailed Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny, under house arrest until March 23. This was reported by Mediazona on Friday, January 29.

      • McConnell repeats the same obstructionist playbook from Obama era: Can Biden ignore the trolling?

        It stands to reason that in a politically divided country like the U.S., presidential hopefuls would run for office promising to bridge the divide and “bring people together.” Polling always shows that if there’s one thing the people want, it’s for the two parties to stop fighting and “get things done.” They may say they want compromise and bipartisanship as well. But when you drill down to what they actually mean by that, it’s pretty clear that they really want their team to dictate the terms and by “compromise” they really mean they want the other side to capitulate. Bipartisanship is just another word for “my way or the highway.”

        All of this has gotten demonstrably worse in the last few years with the rise of social media and right-wing media. For Republicans to compromise with the Democrats today it would signal to a whole lot of their constituents that they are giving in to pedophile cannibals who wear the skinned faces of dead children as masks. They’ve left themselves very little room for good faith negotiations.

      • FBI says Washington pipe bombs were planted night before the Capitol siege

        The bombs were placed outside the headquarters of both the Republican and the Democratic parties a few blocks apart on Capitol Hill. Investigators said both devices appeared to be fully functional, made out of metal pipe with a common windup timer. They were rendered harmless and sent to the FBI crime lab for analysis.

        Although they did not go off, their discovery 90 minutes before [insurrectionists] stormed the Capitol pulled dozens of police away from their normal posts.

      • Brian Sicknick: Officer killed in Capitol [insurrection] to lie in honour

        House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he would lie in honour in the Capitol.

        “The US Congress is united in grief, gratitude and solemn appreciation for the service and sacrifice of Officer Brian Sicknick,” they said in a statement.

        “The heroism of Officer Sicknick and the Capitol Police force during the violent insurrection against our Capitol helped save lives, defend the temple of our democracy and ensure that the Congress was not diverted from our duty to the Constitution.

      • What Comes Next For QAnon Followers

        QAnon’s followers have faced failed prophecies before, but last week appeared to be the movement’s most severe breaking point. Many of Q’s prophecies had been kicked down the road to the inauguration. If something dramatic didn’t happen there, perhaps the prophecies would never come to be. After all, how could Donald Trump lead the arrest of the secret cabal of Democrats who run a global child sex trafficking ring, as many believers expected, if he was no longer in power? As Inauguration Day drew closer, QAnon followers grew more confident that Jan. 20 would be the day all was revealed, and their patience would pay off. Then, the day went forward like any other presidential swearing-in. (Just with tens of thousands of more national guard members in attendance.) Trump hopped a plane to Florida. No arrests. No martial law. No public executions. It shook many believers to their core.

        QAnon and its followers are at a crossroads. More than at any point since the QAnon conspiracy began, there is a tremendous opportunity to pull disaffected followers out of the conspiracy. But their disillusionment could also harden into anger, and they could drift even further into conspiracies and hate. With extremist groups already looking to seize the moment, Q believers are facing at least three major paths. The next few months could determine which they go down.

      • Greek Archbishop Tells the Truth About Islam, Muslim Leaders Enraged

        Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and all Greece touched off a firestorm in mid-January when he dared to note, according to the Orthodox Times, that “Islam was not a religion but a political party.” He added: “They are the people of war.” In response, Muslim leaders the world over have rained down condemnations upon the archbishop. He spoke inaccurately when he said that Islam was not a religion at all, but proof that he was wrong about Islam having a political aspect has not been forthcoming.

      • The Dark Reality Behind Saudi Arabia’s Utopian Dreams

        The hubris underlying these proposals, nourished by generations of yes men (including well-paid Western consultants), will be familiar to anyone who has spent time in Saudi Arabia. Still, you might have expected a bit more circumspection from M.B.S., at least right now. This is the man who stands accused of ordering the gruesome murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi journalist who was lured to the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul in 2018, then strangled and dismembered with a bone saw by a team sent from Riyadh. Khashoggi dared to write mildly critical columns in The Washington Post. The details of his brutal killing shocked the world and made M.B.S. a pariah. He has condemned the murder and denies any role in it. (The C.I.A. begs to differ.)

        Humility is not in M.B.S.’s genes, for better and worse. He continues to harass and jail his critics as if the Khashoggi murder never came to light. But his brashness has allowed him to hem in Saudi Arabia’s religious establishment, putting an end to the kingdom’s longtime promotion of poisonous Islamist doctrine. He is relaxing the rigid constraints on cultural life, and that has made him immensely popular, especially among the young.

        [...]

        What the prince doesn’t say is that there are already thousands of people living in harmony with nature in the same area: a tribal community that has been there for centuries and is now being replaced by the project. One of these tribesmen made videos protesting the evictions — videos of a different sort, you might imagine, than the one M.B.S. has produced. He was shot dead last year in a confrontation with Saudi security forces.

        Anyone who has spent time in Saudi Arabia’s existing cities can sympathize with the desire to start anew. They are dusty and ugly. Narrow-minded clerics preside over corrupt bureaucracies that are resistant to change. But the Saudi landscape is already dotted with failed or abandoned megaprojects. Some Saudis have responded to M.B.S.’s film with acid comments about the need to renovate the country’s existing towns and neighborhoods before throwing billions into another Xanadu. Jamal Khashoggi suggested as much in a column written with a co-author a few months before he was murdered.

      • Sedition Cases Against Capitol [Insurrectionists] ‘Will Bear Fruit Very Soon,’ Says FBI

        Calls for sedition charges haven’t stopped with people who stormed the Capitol, with some raising the possibility of sedition charges against politicians who spread election fraud conspiracy theories or encouraged people to come to D.C. to protest.

        Under federal law, the crime of seditious conspiracy is defined as two or more people conspiring “to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof.”

      • Opinion | How the National Security State Has Come to Dominate a “Civilian” Government

        Demilitarizing our democracy.

      • Why We Can’t Give Up on the Idea of a World Free From Nuclear Weapons

        Hideous Weapons

        Wilfred Burchett was the first non-Japanese journalist to visit Hiroshima. His first dispatch for London’s the Daily Express (September 5, 1945) was entitled “The Atomic Plague.” “In Hiroshima, 30 days after the first atomic bomb destroyed the city and shook the world,” Burchett wrote, “people are still dying, mysteriously and horribly… Hiroshima does not look like a bombed city. It looks as if a monster steamroller had passed over it and squashed it out of existence. I write these facts as dispassionately as I can in the hope that they will act as a warning to the world… The damage is far greater than photographs can show… It gives you an empty feeling in the stomach to see such man-made devastation.”

      • Exposed: Proud Boys Hate Group Leader Enrique Tarrio Was “Prolific” FBI & Police Informant

        We speak with Reuters investigative journalist Aram Roston, who has revealed a leader of the extremist hate group the Proud Boys, which played a key role in the Capitol riot on January 6, has a prolific history of cooperating with law enforcement. Court records show Enrique Tarrio was an FBI and police informant in Florida who went undercover in multiple drug and illegal gambling investigations after he was arrested in 2012. This comes as the Department of Homeland Security warns of a heightened threat posed by “ideologically-motivated violent extremists” angry over Joe Biden’s inauguration.

      • Opinion | Nukes Are Illegal, Now What?

        The necessity for total nuclear disarmament—including American disarmament—is more urgent than ever.

    • Environment

      • The wind-power boom set off a scramble for balsa wood in Ecuador

        Soon the harvest became a free-for-all. Some loggers got permits with the help of the Waorani, but others forged them and invaded the indigenous reserve. Many took truckloads of wood without paying their workers. People from less remote places cut all the balsa they could find, stacking it along the road to Arajuno, the nearest town, says Mr Nihua. Buyers in trucks paid as little as $1.50 per tree. Uncontrolled logging degraded the forest. “They’ve killed off vegetation tremendously…without respecting legal limits,” says Mr Nihua, who partly blames himself. He encouraged his fellow Waorani to earn money from the coveted timber. The influx of cash and liquor fuelled family violence.

        The origin of the crisis lies oceans away, in growing demand for wind power from the world’s largest economies. Thanks to ambitious targets to reduce the use of fossil fuels and technology that is bringing down turbine prices, global wind-power capacity has been increasing by 9% a year over the past decade. In 2020 new installed capacity surged by 24% to a record 78GW. Wind farms in China and the United States, which made up 60% of that demand, were rushing to install them before tax credits and subsidies expired. “It was like the end of a gold rush,” says a China-based representative of a Western turbine maker.

      • G.M. Will Sell Only Zero-Emission Vehicles by 2035

        General Motors said Thursday that it would phase out petroleum-powered cars and trucks and sell only vehicles that have zero tailpipe emissions by 2035, a seismic shift by one of the world’s largest automakers that makes billions of dollars today from gas-guzzling pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles.

      • Human rubbish is smothering the planet’s oceans

        In a throwaway world garbage may be unseen, but not gone. Human rubbish is everywhere, from ocean abyss to coastal mud.

      • Climate Campaigners Say ‘Listen to the Science’ as New Study Shows Earth Now Warmer Than Any Time in Last 12,000 Years

        The study “changes the baseline and emphasizes just how critical it is to take our situation seriously,” its lead researcher said.

      • Biden Moves to Dial Down America’s Soaring Methane Emissions
      • #TheWorldIsWatching: Youth Activists Direct Ire Over Climate Inaction at WEF Elite

        “If only leaders were as good [at] taking real action as they were giving speeches,” said Greta Thunberg.

      • Taking Action on Climate Change
      • Opinion | Indigenous Leaders and Environmental Activists Are Standing Firm on Their Demands of President Biden

        Indigenous groups and environmental activists are also calling on President Biden to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline and Enbridge Line 3.

      • Energy

        • “After 13 Years, Justice!” Dutch Court Orders Shell Oil to Pay for Harm Done to Nigerian Farmers

          “Victims of environmental pollution, land grabbing, or exploitation now have a better chance to win a legal battle against the companies involved.”

        • Evidence Shows Oil Industry Flaring in Texas Being Done Without Permits

          The incidence of flaring natural gas, which is primarily methane, at drilling sites in the Permian basin skyrocketed in recent years as fracking proliferated and the industry drilled tens of thousands of wells. Burning natural gas at the wellhead would be wasteful enough, but some drillers simply release the gas into the atmosphere, a practice known as “venting.”

        • “The People We Serve Are Paying Too Much for Energy:” Virginia Lawmakers Are Targeting Dominion Energy

          In a bid to lower some of the highest electricity bills in the nation, Virginia lawmakers are pushing legislation that would strengthen oversight of the state’s largest utility, Dominion Energy, potentially setting up hundreds of millions of dollars in customer refunds.

          The package of seven bills is designed to restore authority to Virginia’s State Corporation Commission, which regulates utilities and other business interests. As the Richmond Times-Dispatch and ProPublica reported in October, years of Dominion-backed laws have left the agency hobbled as residential power bills have soared. Notably, the utility backed legislation passed in 2015 to block rate reviews for seven years, and it later championed changes that allowed it to keep some profits that would otherwise be returned to customers and instead use the money for new projects.

    • Finance

      • Why I Joined the Jubilee 100 Student Debt Strike

        “You want to thank Black women? Cancel student debt—all of it. Black women carry more student debt than any other group in America. Save your words of appreciation. Policy is our love language,” Representative Ayanna Pressley tweeted on January 19. As a Black woman carrying student debt, I couldn’t agree more. That’s why I’ve joined the Biden Jubilee 100 debt strike demanding that President Biden cancel all student debt during his first 100 days.

      • Trump Chief of Staff Liquidated as Much as $200,000 in Stock After Election
      • Reddit rebellion: amateur investors hold the line against Wall Street fat cats
      • Kerala Communists Serve the People, Look to Youth and Women

        Rajendran told a reporter that,

        In early December, Arya Rajendran was the candidate of Left Democratic Front (LDF) as voting took place in Mudavanmughal ward for the city council. She won 2,872 votes, 549 more than the candidate for the United Democratic Front (UDF), a coalition led by India’s National Congress political party. The CPI(M) is by far the largest force in the LDF, which also includes the Communist Party of India (CPI) and smaller leftist parties.

      • Essential Workers Take the Risk, CEO’s Reap the Rewards

        Maybe we should. Walgreens perfectly encapsulates the long-term economic trends of the Trump years: top corporate executives pocketing immense paychecks at the expense of their workers.

        At Walgreens, workers start at just $10 an hour. No chain store empire employing essential workers pays less.

      • ‘Cry Me a River’: Sanders Hits Back as Billionaire Investor Whines About Potential Tax Hikes Amid GameStop Fiasco

        “Oh look, another billionaire is mad that he might have to pay more taxes while children in America go hungry and veterans sleep on the street.”

      • Opinion | The Gamestop Bubble Reveals a Financial System Totally Out of Touch With Economic Reality

        The online pranksters behind the great GameStop bubble of 2021 are probably going to lose a lot of money. But they’ve done the world a service by reminding us of the absurdity of the stock market.

      • ‘How About a Counter-Argument Based on Fact?’: Warren Destroys CNBC Host Over Two-Cent Wealth Tax Criticism

        “The wealthiest in this country are paying less in taxes than everyone else,” said the Democratic senator. “If they added a two-cent wealth tax, they’d still be paying less than most of the people in this entire nation.”

      • The Decade of the Rank and File: Fifty Years On

        1970 saw strikes in almost every employment category. Many, seen from the outside, were inconsequential affairs; others shook the nation. In Chicago, a truckers’ strike – “a revolt against the union leadership” according to the New York Times – spread nationwide, including to Los Angeles and Cleveland, where roving pickets fought with police and national guardsmen. The Times reported that in Cleveland “Strikers have set up a roving patrol system that they say can muster 300 men within an hour to stop any truck moving goods in the area. The strikers are allowing trucks carrying food, drugs and beer to continue, but they have become outraged when they have found food trucks carrying other cargo. There has been rock throwing, windshields have been smashed, tires slashed and air hoses cut.” The United Press reckoned that 500,000 people were out of work as a result of the strike.

        In New York City, postal workers kicked off the year with a national wildcat strike, a strike also against federal law. Rank-and-file workers organized the strike and no mail moved in the nations’ major cities. The strike lasted eight days in New York, despite the deployment of 30,000 national guardsmen. In total, some 200,000 workers participated in the largest wildcat strike ever. New York, according to the Economist, became “the city of strikes.” Telephone workers struck for eight months. City workers shut down the bridges that connected the boroughs with Manhattan. The workers – leaving the bridges up, took with them electrical parts, fuses and keys – in what came to be known as the “drawbridge strike.”

      • The U.S. Economy Excels at One Thing: Producing Massive Inequality

        All the other relevant metrics likewise show that economic inequality in the United States kept worsening across the last half-century. This happened despite “concerns” about inequality expressed publicly across the years by many establishment politicians (including some in the new Biden administration), journalists, and academics. Inequality worsened through the capitalist downturns after 1970 and likewise through the three capitalist crashes of this century (2000, 2008, and 2020). Nor did the deadly pandemic provoke soul-searching or policies adequate to stop, let alone reverse, the ongoing redistribution of income and wealth upward.

        No advanced economics is required to grasp that divisions, bitterness, resentment, and anger flow from such a persistently widening gap between haves and have-nots. Among millions who search for explanations, many become prey for those mobilizing against scapegoats. White supremacists blame Black and Brown people. Nativists (calling themselves “patriots” or “nationalists”) point to immigrants and foreign trade partners. Fundamentalists blame those less zealous and especially the non-religious. Fascists try to combine those movements with economically threatened small-business owners, jobless workers, and alienated social outcasts to form a powerful political coalition. The fascists made good use of Trump to assist their efforts.

      • Biden’s $1.9 Trillion Stimulus Is a Vital Beginning for a New New Deal
      • GameStop Shares: Dark Pools Owned by Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, UBS, et al, Have Made Tens of Thousands of Trades

        It’s a fair guess that you haven’t heard a peep about Dark Pools on the evening news. The fact that you haven’t is a perfect commentary on why mainstream media is failing the American people when it comes to exposing Wall Street’s serial looting of the little guy.

        But when a bunch of quixotic posters on a Reddit message board can be parlayed into the exciting narrative of a Robinhood band taking on the evil hedge funds, it goes viral on the evening news – sucking in hundreds of thousands more unsophisticated retail investors.

      • Sanders on Billionaire Investor’s Tax Fears Amid GameStop Saga: “Cry Me a River”
      • The Sedition That Nobody’s Talking About

        The sudden lurch from Trump to Biden is generating vertigo all over Washington, including the so-called fourth branch of government – CEOs and their army of lobbyists.

      • Kimberly Inez McGuire on Abortion Realities, Bama Athreya on Defending Gig Workers
      • Discord Takes Over Moderation Of r/WallStreetBets Server As Facebook Shuts Down Popular Stock Trading Group

        Apparently every damn story has a content moderation angle these days. The still ongoing GameStonks! story keeps getting more and more fascinating in all sorts of ways. Yesterday, we noted as a side note, that Discord had shut down the r/WallStreetBets server that many of the subreddit users had used to communicate. Discord claimed — somewhat unbelievably — that it had done so at this very moment because of a long term “hate speech” problem on that server.

      • Doug Henwood – Unpacking GameStop’s Stock & Wall Street’s Future
      • How many stocks will Robinhood let you buy? The numbers keep shrinking

        Robinhood only wants users to have a limited number of shares of companies like GameStop, and that number keeps getting smaller and smaller. On Thursday, the company halted users’ ability to buy stocks that were associated with r/WallStreetBets, including GameStop, AMC, and Nokia, but the company promised that users would be able to buy limited quantities on Friday. Today, it released a shifting support document that details just how limited things are — and to slightly paraphrase Lando, the deal’s getting worse all the time.

      • Go read this profile of the trader whose huge bet on GameStop moved the entire market

        And he was right, of course, though not necessarily for all the reasons he might have expected. What’s powering this latest bonanza is what’s known as a short squeeze — hedge funds that shorted GameStop stock are now scrambling to cover their bets, which drives the stock price up further. As with most financial arcana, it both is and isn’t that complicated. What’s perhaps more interesting to consider is how Gill found an unloved stock two years ago, placed a bet because he believed in it, and is still somehow winning.

      • Duel Between Day Traders and Big Funds Spills Into GameStop Options

        Activity in bullish call options on the video game retailer’s stock looks concentrated in small short-term momentum bets, while bearish put options seem to be more long-term and likely the work of bigger players, suggested Susquehanna International Group’s Chris Murphy in a note Thursday. The derivatives strategist highlighted a drop in open interest in calls, but a rise in the equivalent figure for puts as the stock pushed higher.

      • Opinion | In This Current Emergency There Is Nothing Wrong With Borrowing Funds to Help Americans in Need

        We will have to negotiate creatively to reduce the budget deficits ahead, including raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans, who have experienced a massive windfall of wealth during the pandemic.

      • Applause as Biden Withdraws ‘Horrific’ Trump Rule Attacking Social Security Disability Recipients

        “Wonderful news,” said one activist.

      • The Trump Administration Gutted the EEOC

        When Donald Trump took office in 2017, he installed a number of pro-business appointees to lead federal agencies tasked with protecting workers’ rights. But for the first two years of his administration, things continued more or less as normal at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the country’s sole workplace civil rights watchdog. Ami Sanghvi, now a lawyer at the Marek Law Firm, started as a trial attorney at the EEOC just after Barack Obama became president. Yet even during Trump’s first two years, she said, the agency was able “to do pretty great work.”1

      • The Curse of Memory: a Ruralist’s Lament

        Sadly, due to our free-market healthcare “system,” our premodern 18th century governing structure, and our devotion to private profit over public good, Plague reigns and this year’s trade show was merely “virtual.” Alas. Those tires will not get kicked this year, nor could I stop by the dairy booths to get the most recent numbers on the steady decline in dairy farm operations. I’ve written regularly in the Courier, the late Journal Tribune, and elsewhere over the years about the catastrophic economics of farming, and no….. not much has changed. If the Covid death march is over by next January I’ll check again.

        But this week also featured the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., perhaps the highest-profile campaigner for economic justice, a universal guaranteed annual income, and a sworn opponent of the barbaric war against the people of Vietnam. He consequently generated a huge FBI “subversive” file.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Opinion | What the Inauguration Meant to Me, as an Abuse Survivor

        We may be bruised; we may have even believed that we are broken. But we made it out. We still face vast uncertainty, and desperately need deep, systemic change if we are going to survive the years ahead. 

      • The Nasty Nepotistic Narcissistic Necrotrophs of Thanatos and Democracy Lost So It Goes ‘Sic Transit’

        ‘the old ‘man god’ is dead, all hail the new ‘man god’!’

        as represented contemporaneous by the transition of but moral economic (Political) Admin. ‘American’ as the snake speaks apropos Milton above- and mere illusion as the ‘blip’ of a baton as would be unseen passed from Trump to Biden such the  RADAR such the ‘ beastly beatitude’ – from 45 to 46  ‘POTUS’d’ such the  empirical quantification of deep state hypnosis: – and such the bipartisanship of a cultivated narcissism as  rigged ‘game’ concerning ongoing drive of  the final nails into the coffin of Democracy and  the fruit of Socialism as applied Egalitarian as to apotheosis of ‘Eros‘ contributed toward; such the glorious vineyard denied as withering Id’d denied under illusion as much as the grapes of wrath harvested?

      • After High 2020 Turnout, Georgia Republican Wants to Make Voter ID Laws Stricter
      • This Is Why Texas Is the Next Georgia

        When I first met Stacey Abrams 10 years ago, I knew right away that the work she was doing in Georgia had great potential. While Stacey has graciously credited my wife and me as being among her first national supporters—even joking that we supported her before it was logical—the ingredients for success in Georgia were there all along, if you knew what to look for. Now that the world has come to marvel at the Georgia miracle, we should be thinking about what states are next and what lessons from the Georgia journey can be applied to the political transformation of other states.

      • GOP Lawmaker in AZ Wants Legislature to Have Authority to Toss Election Results
      • Why the Next Major Party Won’t be a Trump Production

        Easier said than done, though. Duverger’s Law puts it bluntly: “[T]he simple-majority single-ballot system favours the two-party system.”

        With more than 140 years to entrench themselves in that system and fortify their position with ballot and debate access barriers to keep competitors broke and voiceless, the Republicans and Democrats  have little to fear.

      • Issa Amro Stood Against Israel’s Settler State and is About to Pay a Heavy Price

        Occupied Hebron — “Israel wants to steal our history. They want to focus only on one small part of the history and ignore all the rest,” Issa Amro told me in an interview for the “Miko Peled Podcast,” (also available at Mikoeled.com). Issa was talking about why Israeli settlers are so keen to take over Tel Rumeida, a hill overlooking the city of Hebron. It is a hill that contains an archaeological and historical gold mine. Not because it contains actual gold, but because along with the ancient olive trees that have been alive and have sustained people who lived in Hebron for thousands of years, it contains proof of an ancient civilization and continuous life that goes back thousands of years.

      • Biden’s Executive Orders Are Essential to Restoring Democracy

        Caricatured by Republicans as “Sleepy Joe,” the new president has started his term with an impressive sprint, issuing a record number of executive orders. In his first 10 days in office, Biden has signed 24 executive orders. That’s eight more than the combined total the last five presidents signed in the same period (Donald Trump signed six, Barack Obama five, George W. Bush two, Bill Clinton two and George H.W. Bush one).

      • The GOP’s Resentment Theater

        He’s “calling us racists,” Rand Paul complained. “According to the left, supporting border security and celebrating July 4 could make you a white supremacist,” Tucker Carlson claimed. “I was offended” by “the racism thing,” Karl Rove added.

        These complaints are disingenuous.

      • New ‘Treason Caucus’ Campaign Targets Cruz, Hawley, and Others for Role in Deadly Capitol Insurrection

        “If we don’t take action now, Cruz and his band of conspiracy theorists will still maintain power in an office they dishonored and don’t deserve to hold.”

      • The Twilight of a Wannabe Fascist: A Timeline of Trump’s Last Year

        3/3 (Super Tuesday):  Joe Biden sweeps Democratic primaries, reversing Bernie Sanders’ gains; Biden backed by Wall Street and the Democratic National Committee blocks Sanders; the electoral choice will be between center-right Democrat Biden and Clinton-Obama normalcy, or four more years of Trump

        3/13: as COVID19 becomes an issue, and awareness of Trump’s criminal irresponsibility spreads, Trump belatedly announces a national health emergency and first measures against it

      • Will Biden End America’s Global War on Children?

        A less publicized Trump policy that actually killed children was the fulfilment of his campaign promises to “bomb the shit out of” America’s enemies and “take out their families.” Trump escalated Obama’s bombing campaigns against the Taliban in Afghanistan and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, and loosened U.S. rules of engagement regarding airstrikes that were predictably going to kill civilians.

        After devastating U.S. bombardments that killed tens of thousands of civilians and left major cities in ruins, the United States’ Iraqi allies fulfilled the most shocking of Trump’s threats and massacred the survivors – men, women and children – in Mosul.

      • QAnon Trump Supporter Jacob Chansley Wants to Testify at Impeachment Trial
      • Marjorie Taylor Greene Has Long Used Racism, Anti-Semitism to Get Famous
      • A Progressive Case Against the Trump Trial

        My particular heresy is this: I think that the U.S. House of Representatives’ impeachment of Donald Trump for inciting insurrection presented a very weak case, and that a Senate conviction of the former President would be both unjust and dangerous. Trump surely deserves to go down in history and memory as one of the worst American presidents ever elected. But impeaching and convicting him will solve none of the problems that made him a political menace. In fact, it will very likely worsen them.

        I totally understand why lots of good people think that Trump should be convicted of “high crimes and misdemeanors” and barred from ever running for president again. The ex-President has three characteristics, in particular, that make him a danger to democracy and to groups protected (at least to some extent) by democratic norms:

      • Will the U.S. End its Support for the Apartheid Israeli Regime?

        An article in the January 11, 2021 issue of The Guardian described a position paper issued by B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights advocacy organization, which disputes the popular narrative about Israel being a democracy. Instead, the position paper makes the following assertion: “One organising [sic.] principle lies at the base of a wide array of Israeli policies: advancing and perpetuating the supremacy of one group – Jews – over another – Palestinians.”

        The B’Tselem position paper does not stand alone. In June 2020, Yesh Din, yet another Israeli human rights organization, issued a legal opinion that concluded that the Israeli regime is committing the crime of apartheid in the West Bank against Palestinians. Although the Yesh Din legal opinion (which cites international law as its controlling authority) limits its apartheid indictment to the West Bank, the B’Tselem position paper makes the more sweeping indictment that Israel exists as one apartheid regime “from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea,” an area that includes the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.

      • Putin’s trust rating drops below 55 percent for the first time since early 2020

        Russian President Vladimir Putin’s trust rating dropped from 55 percent to 53 percent during the week of January 17–24, according to the latest survey results from the Public Opinion Foundation (FOM). This is the lowest trust rating Putin has seen since January 2020 — over the course of last year, it hovered between 55 and 60 percent.

      • Russian state television previews segment claiming Putin’s palace is actually a hotel

        On Friday, January 29, the state-owned television channel Rossiya-1 is set to broadcast a segment about the Black Sea “palace” reportedly built for Russian President Vladimir Putin near Gelendzhik. 

      • NYT’s China Syndrome

        Imagine a parallel world where the US brought Covid under control in two months, while China still struggled with it, a year and hundreds of thousands of deaths later.

      • Scrutiny grows over National Guard presence at Capitol

        At the height of the deployment, about 26,000 Guardsmen were on hand patrolling Capitol Hill armed with M4 semi-automatic rifles, taking breaks in the halls of the Capitol building, setting up razor wire-topped fencing and parking military vehicles to block off the National Mall and large swaths of downtown D.C.

      • Google deletes negative reviews of Robinhood app

        A spokesperson for Google confirmed to The Hill that the company took action on reviews found to be inauthentic or in violation of the company’s policy.

      • [Update: Google deletes] Robinhood’s Android app review bombed over GameStop stock block

        Update: In the time since this article was posted, Google has deleted thousands of the negative reviews. A quick look makes it appear that roughly 100,000 reviews have been removed, bringing the score back up to about 4 stars over the past few hours.

      • Google Deletes 100,000 Negative Reviews of Robinhood App From Angry Users

        Google removed at least 100,000 negative reviews of the stock trading app Robinhood from the Google Play app store after angry users sent a flood of critical reviews that caused the app’s rating to plummet on Thursday. The app’s rating went from roughly four stars out of five on Wednesday to just one star on Thursday. Robinhood users were understandably upset after the company halted purchases of GameStop’s stock and other stocks promoted by Reddit’s WallStreetBets community.

        A Google spokesperson confirmed the tech giant has deleted the reviews and defended the move overnight, telling Gizmodo over email that it has rules against “coordinated or inorganic reviews.” Gizmodo asked how negative reviews could be deemed “inorganic” when people seem reasonably upset about Robinhood’s actions in recent days. Google stopped responding to Gizmodo’s emails after that inquiry.

      • Panicked Authorities Clamp Down Amid Wall Street Bets’ GameStop Rebellion

        There was widespread outrage as panicked authorities introduced a host of emergency measures to stop the continued financial rebellion started by Redditors on the Wall Street Bets subreddit. “Capitalism has no problem when the working class plays. But has an issue when the working class starts winning. The system is rigged,” wrote congressman Jamal Bowman. “Wall Street manipulates the market and rips off the public year in and year out, nobody bats an eyelash. The public manipulates the market and scores a little victory over Wall Street, there’s a freakout among the oligarchs nationwide. Tells you everything, really,” added Lebanese political analyst Sarah Abdallah.

      • The BBC makes trouble in Taiwan’s backyard once again

        For much of its existence, it has been held up as a bastion of free and independent public service journalism, with the BBC World Service, in particular, playing a crucial role in spreading democratic values and freedom across the world.

        But today’s BBC is a very different beast to the one founded by Lord Reith back in 1922. A quick Google search today will find a slew of articles attacking its coverage of everything from the coronavirus pandemic and Brexit to U.S. politics and the actions of China.

        Meanwhile, the #DefundtheBBC movement is growing rapidly in the U.K., where taxpayers are frustrated about paying a compulsory TV tax for a service that often fails to reflect their values or deliver even a vaguely impartial view on the big current affairs issues of the day.

      • Centuries of Christian heritage “under threat” in Turkey

        The Christian presence in Turkey pre-dates Islam by many centuries. The territory was home to the “Seven Churches which are in Asia”, mentioned in Revelation (1:4), and Cappadocia, in central Anatolia, is a region where early Christians took refuge from Roman persecution.

        The Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) issued a statement on 21 January that highlighted its concerns over the agreement which comes under Article 9 of the 1970 UNESCO Convention (the “MOU”). The AAMD described Turkey’s request for international cooperation against the illicit trafficking of cultural property as “troubling” and explained that “for many types of cultural property, a MOU will not curb looting and destruction because those actions are being carried out by the Turkish state itself.”

      • Last minute US-Turkey accord grants Ankara rights to Christian cultural heritage

        “The Trump administration – in its final hours – gifted Turkey the legal rights to claim the vast religious and cultural heritage of the region’s indigenous peoples and minority populations – among them Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Syriacs, Arameans, Maronites, Jews and Kurds,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “This reckless and irresponsible move was done over the protests of the ANCA, the Hellenic American Leadership Council, and In Defense of Christians by an administration well aware that Turkey has openly, unapologetically, and systematically spent the past two centuries destroying minorities, desecrating their holy sites, and erasing even their memory from the landscape of their ancient, indigenous homelands.”

      • The American Devolution
      • The Leadership Institute: PR School for Right-wingers

        And we’re becoming aware of other radical right efforts to use media to indoctrinate people. There’s the right-wing Sinclair Broadcast Group seeking to buy up more local TV stations to deceive and lie from, and One America News and Newsmax TV.

        As the headline of a recent article in The New York Times declared: “Pro-Trump Media Keeps the Disinformation Flowing.”

      • It’s the Economic Precarity, Stupid

        While the spark that ignited the violent upheaval of January 6 was Donald Trump’s allegations that the November presidential election was fraudulent, for many the assault on the Capitol was also an insurgency against the entire political class. “All these politicians work for us. We pay their salaries, we pay our taxes. And what do we get? Nothing. All of them inside are traitors, ” said one of the Capitol invaders.

      • Rand Paul Is a Monarchist—and Donald Trump Is His King

        No serious republican in the American summer of 1787, or in the dark winter of 2021, would dare to narrow the impeachment power with time limits on when a current or former executive might be held to account for high crimes—especially so high a crime as the one in which President Trump engaged on January 6. To do so would disarm Congress in the struggle against kingly abuses of precisely the sort feared by the delegates who gathered 234 years ago to frame the Constitution of the United States.

      • Opinion | Will Biden End America’s Global War on Children?

        Nothing in Biden’s long record in public life suggests that he will, unless the American public and the rest of the world act collectively and effectively to insist that America must end its war on children and finally become a responsible, law-abiding member of the human family.

      • ‘Temporarily’ Not Good Enough: Corporate America Called to End Political Giving Once and for All

        “The attack at the Capitol warrants more than shallow promises to merely pause political donations. We must rededicate America’s grand experiment to its foundational principle—government of, for, and by the people.”

      • Opinion | A Three Step Solution to Prevent Future Election Violence

        I’ve spent my entire career on peacebuilding after conflict. Here’s how we avoid becoming a failed state. 

      • While America Was Sleeping

        In that classic American tale by Washington Irving published in 1819, an amiable but shiftless farmer strolls out of his colonial village to go hunting in the Catskill Mountains. There he happens upon a group of mysterious men, drinks deep from their keg of liquor, and falls into a long sleep. He awakens to find that he’s grown a white beard down to his belly and his youth has withered into an unrecognizable old age. Walking back to the village, he discovers his wife is long dead and their house in ruins. Meanwhile, the sign above the village pub where he whiled away so many pleasant hours no longer bears the face of his beloved King George, the British monarch, but has been replaced by someone named General Washington. Inside, the convivial chatter of colonial days has given way to fervid electioneering for something called Congress, whatever that might be. Incredibly, Rip Van Winkle had slept right through the American Revolution.

        While this country was similarly sleepwalking through the fever dream of President Donald Trump’s version of America First, the world kept changing as decisively as it did during those seven years when General Washington’s Continentals fought the British Redcoats. Just as King George suffered a searing defeat that cost him the 13 colonies, so the United States has, with similarly stunning speed, now lost its leadership of the international community.

      • As White House Floats Skimpier Relief Bill in Bid for GOP Support, Progressives Warn Going Small Would Be ‘Catastrophic’

        “Congress should err on the side of offering generous relief to a larger pool of people, rather than too little.”

      • Federal Secrecy Protects the Crimes of Every President

        Politicians and federal agencies recognize that “what people don’t know won’t hurt the government.” James Madison, the father of the Constitution, declared in 1798 that “the right of freely examining public characters and measures, and of free communication among the people thereon … has ever been justly deemed, the only effectual guardian of every other right.” But this right has faded badly in recent decades. During the 2020 Senate impeachment trial of Donald Trump, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer warned that if the Senate did not vote to hear witnesses, “this country is headed towards the greatest cover-up since Watergate.”

        Actually, “conventional wisdom” in the nation’s capital is often the result of cover-ups, ignorance, and servility. Daniel Ellsberg, who risked life in prison to leak the Pentagon Papers, observed in 2002, “It is a commonplace that ‘you can’t keep secrets in Washington’ or ‘in a democracy.’ … These truisms are flatly false…. The overwhelming majority of secrets do not leak to the American public.”

      • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to Ted Cruz: ‘You Almost Had Me Murdered… You Can Resign’

        The Squad member once again implored Cruz to quit after he tweeted agreement with her call for a probe of the GameStop stock trading controversy. 

      • ‘This Is Unacceptable’: AOC, Tlaib Demand Hearing Into Robinhood Blocking Customers From GameStop Trades

        “They’re blocking the ability to trade to protect Wall St. hedge funds, stealing millions of dollars from their users to protect people who’ve used the stock market as a casino for decades.”

      • Robinhood App Decides To Stop Helping The Poor Steal From The Rich

        I had been meaning to do another story on the whole GameStop/Reddit/WallStreetBets story, because there’s a lot of really fascinating points on this, but my original story got pretty much wiped away this morning when Robinhood, the popular stock trading app that promotes itself as a way of democratizing stock trading and providing free trades — and which was the main app used by Redditors to drive up the prices of various stocks that a bunch of hedge funds were trying to short — announced that it was blocking the trades in all of the volatile stocks that Redditors were driving up. It did so in the most ridiculous of statements, claiming that they were pausing buying of those stocks to “[help] our customers navigate this uncertainty.”

      • Parents of Sandy Hook Victims: Naming of Marjorie Taylor Greene to Education Panel an Attack on All ‘Whose Loved Ones Were Murdered in Mass Shootings’

        “Hateful conspiracy theories and suggestions that our children’s violent deaths never happened have no place in our society, much less the United States Congress.”

      • Freshmen Dems Lead Resolution to Censure Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Call for Her Resignation

        “Congresswoman Greene should resign immediately to allow someone to fill her seat who believes in upholding the Constitution and the mission of this legislative body to serve all people, not harm them.”

      • After Altercation, Rep. Cori Bush to Move Office Away From Far-Right Marjorie Taylor Greene for Team’s Safety

        Bush cited Greene’s support for executing Democrats and “renewed, repeated antagonization of the movement for Black lives.”

      • ‘Appalling’: Dems Incensed as GOP Appoints Marjorie Taylor Greene—a Sandy Hook Massacre Denier—to Education Committee

        “The focus has to be on the Republican leadership of this House of Representatives for the disregard they have for the death of those children,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

      • If Someone Like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene ‘Shoots and Kills Me,’ Says David Hogg, ‘Politicize My Death’ to Strengthen Gun Laws

        The Parkland mass shooting survivor’s comments come as a March 2019 video of Greene chasing after and yelling at him circulates online.

      • Opinion | Meet the Real Dark Money GOP Donors Who Funded Those Who Voted to Overturn the Election

        Major companies and executives of Wall Street firms, fossil fuel businesses, a casino empire, and a shipping giant supplied super PACs and other outside spending groups with hundreds of millions of dollars to elect the Republican election deniers.

      • Beyond Slogans: Palestinians Need an Urgent, Centralized Strategy to Counter Israel in Africa

        African countries, especially those who worked diligently to integrate Israel into the continent’s mainstream body politic, are now seizing on the perfect opportunity to bring all African countries on board, including those who have historically and genuinely stood on the side of Palestinians.

        ‘Empower Africa’, an Israeli firm that is constantly seeking financial opportunities throughout the African continent, was one out of many who jumped on the opportunity to exploit Arab normalization with Israel. The goal is about maximizing their profits while promoting Arab normalization as if an economic opportunity for struggling African economies. In December, ‘Empower Africa’ hosted its first event in Dubai under the title “UAE and Israel Uniting with Africa”. In its press release, celebrating what is meant to be a momentous occasion, the Israeli company said that its guests included representatives from UAE, Israel, Bahrain, Nigeria, Rwanda, Egypt, among others.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • The Old Media and the New Must Work Together to Preserve Free Speech Values

        A few years ago, I was summoned to the office of an eminent TV journalist, one of those people commonly described as “the dean of . . . ” something. He wanted me to come by, he said, because “he had an idea to run by me.” So I went. 

        After the small talk – we both had suffered the same back injury! – he ran his idea by me. This is a paraphrase: “We should bring back the Fairness Doctrine. And not just for broadcast news, but for all media, especially the Internet. Looking back, I think it made us better journalists.” He was planning a conference and wanted this to be a major discussion point. In my memory, my jaw dropped cartoonishly all the way to the floor. 

        The Fairness Doctrine was a Federal Communications Commission rule that imposed “fair” reporting requirements on radio and television broadcasters. By “broadcasters,” I, and the FCC, mean those entities that have a license to broadcast over a certain over-the-air frequency, as opposed to cable or satellite or now streaming services. It’s the stuff you get for free if you just plug in a TV or radio with an antenna. The Fairness Doctrine had many facets. But the main one required broadcasters to devote time to discussing controversial matters of public interest, and then to air contrasting views as well. In some circumstances this could require the broadcaster to provide reply time to any person. The rule was in effect from 1949 until 1987. I’ll talk more about it a little later. 

      • Opinion | Should President Biden Revoke Section 230?

        The recent attack on the US Capitol reveals the danger of digital media platforms. Here’s what we must do to transform Silicon Valley’s corruption of the media infrastructure.

      • Content Moderation Case Study: Twitter Removes Account Of Human Rights Activist (2018)

        Summary: Manzoor Ahmed Pashteen is a human rights activist in Pakistan, calling attention to unfair treatment of the Pashtun ethnic group, of which he is a member. In 2018, days after he led a rally in support of the Pashtun people in front of the Mochi Gate in Lahore, his Twitter account was suspended.

      • Roskomnadzor calls on Google to lift restrictions on YouTube videos containing the Russian national anthem

        Russia’s federal media watchdog, Roskomnadzor, has issued a statement urging Google to lift reported restrictions on posting YouTube videos that contain the Russian national anthem.

      • Content Moderation At Scale Is Impossible: Google Play Bans Video Player App Over ASS File Extension Support

        As you should know by now as readers here, content moderation at scale is impossible to do well. Examples for how and why this is so are extensive on these pages, but the crux of the matter is that scaling moderation for content across huge platforms and a variety of avenues in a way that everyone both agrees is right and that doesn’t create false-positives is, well, self-evidently impossible. Not everyone agrees what should be moderated, for starters, nor does anyone trust these platforms to actually get it right. Meanwhile, some massive amount of the public does agree that these platforms should be doing something.

      • No, Revoking Section 230 Would Not ‘Save Democracy’

        Steven Hill, the former policy director with the Center for Humane Technologies — the non-profit that everyone seems to look to as some sort of knowledgeable source on “anti-Big Tech” talking points — has come out with one of the most ridiculous op-eds regarding Section 230. And I say that as someone who seems to wade through a dozen or so terrible Section 230 op-eds every day. The title alone, should already make you nervous, but honestly this piece is so bad, so wrong, and so disconnected from reality, it completely undermines the Center for Humane Technology’s credibility, even though this guy is no longer associated with them.

      • Facebook content moderators in Ireland demand work-from-home rights

        Facebook content moderators in Ireland met with Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar today to demand work-from-home rights. They say the company forced them back into the office, even as COVID-19 cases spiked.

      • Facebook’s Oversight Board wants your feedback on whether the company was right to ban Trump

        Now, the Oversight Board wants the public to weigh in, too. The board is looking for comments regarding whether Facebook’s decision “complied with the company’s responsibilities to respect freedom of expression and human rights” and what it should do should a similar situation arise in the future.

      • Facebook Oversight Board Says Nipple Moderation Can Hurt Women’s Free Speech

        The nipples decision is one of five cases published today. The others included a ruling with respect to the spreading of COVID-19 misinformation as well as a ruling regarding a hateful slur in the midst of an armed conflict. These are the first decisions from the Oversight Board, which was established last October to review content moderation decisions. Amid much talk by lawmakers about stripping tech companies of Section 230 protections, the hope by Mark Zuckberg’s company is for more transparency. Recently, Facebook made news by referring its suspension of Donald Trump’s account to this new board, dubbed as a “Supreme Court” by some.

        While the issue of nipple treatment might not seem serious, those involved in decision making at Facebook have admitted spending a lot of time on the subject. “Free the nipple” has been a subject of vast protest by celebrities, artists, and others these past few years.

      • These Machines Won’t Kill Fascism: Toward a Militant Progressive Vision for Tech

        In pursuing their campaign against 230 at the same time that they’re seeking to protect corporations from worker lawsuits related to Covid-19, conservatives have made their agenda painfully clear: Corporate liability is permissible in the tech industry only if it helps them dominate the platforms and capture a sector that has long been the darling of liberals.

      • La Quadrature du Net asks for renewed support to challenge TERREG in France

        The text provides that any authority of a Member State of the European Union can oblige any hosting provider to remove content within one hour that this authority considers of “terrorist nature”. Concretely, in France, the police will be allowed to censor in one hour any text or video without the prior authorisation of a judge.

        In addition to the dangers of surveillance and political censorship that LQDN has pointed out for years, one-hour removal orders are exactly what was struck down by the Constitutional Council in June 2020 in its decision on the Avia law.

        However, the vote in the LIBE Committee last week was followed by a deafening silence. From the side of the press, the latest news available is a press release from the AFP (the French News Agency) following the compromise found between the Parliament and the European Member States on the text. In the Press Release the French government congratulates itself on this agreement, without any mention of the extremely lively debate that the replica of this text in the Avia law had triggered, nor of the decision of the Constitutional Council of June 2020.

        Apart from this poor and partial press release… there is nothing. The deletion of Donald Trump’s Twitter account was obviously a lighter and more pleasant subject to discuss than the censorship of thousands of European activists that is feared to happen as soon as the whole internet will be subjected to the arbitrariness of all European police forces.

      • Iranian Christian Arrested For The Third Time

        Most recently, she was arrested by the “morality police”, claiming that she improperly wore her hijab, her pants were too tight and her coat was unbuttoned. Iranian officials previously charged her with the same accusations. She spent six months in jail for being a member of a local house church, and also spent time in prison in April 2020 after participating in a peaceful protest.

      • Removing Civil Rights Law From Section 230 Will Create Many New Problems, While Failing To Fix Existing Ones

        We’ve covered so many bad faith bills that are attempting to undermine Section 230 for silly and disingenuous reasons. However, I expect we’ll be seeing many more bills coming up that actually mean well, and have good intentions underlying the bill… but are still problematic and may make things worse. A new example of this is a not-yet-introduced bill from Rep. Yvette Clarke, along with Rep. Mike Doyle. They’ve released a “discussion draft” of the bill which they’ve dubbed the Civil Rights Modernization Act of 2021. This bill does two things that so many Section 230 reform bills do not: (1) it appears to attack an actual, clearly stated problem, and (2) it attempts to take a narrow approach to it.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • US Justice Department Tries To Stifle Alleged WikiLeaks Source’s Challenge To Cruel Confinement

        *The following was originally published as part of The Dissenter newsletter.The United States Justice Department is attempting to foil former CIA engineer Joshua Schulte’s challenge to his harsh confinement conditions at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in New York.Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles Jacob argued in a letter [PDF] to a federal judge, “The court lacks jurisdiction to resolve this petition in the context of this criminal case.”Prosecutors maintain MCC Warden Marti Licon-Vitale should be the target of any habeas petition, or complaint, but Licon-Vitale cannot be named as a defendant.Effectively, if accepted by the court, this means Schulte would have to pursue a civil lawsuit against prison administrators while at the same time preparing for the Justice Department to try him on Espionage Act charges that a jury deadlocked on last March. He already has public defenders and definitely could not afford to hire an attorney to argue his constitutional rights are being violated.Schulte was accused of leaking the “Vault 7” files to WikiLeaks and charged with 13 offenses, including four counts of violating the Espionage Act in June 2018.

        The files Schulte allegedly released brought scrutiny to the CIA’s hacking arsenal, which targeted smartphones and computers. A program called “Weeping Angel” that allowed the CIA to attack Samsung F8000 TVs and convert them into spying devices was exposed. They also showed how the CIA targeted Microsoft Windows, as well as Signal and WhatsApp users, with malware.Lawyer Sabrina Shroff, according to Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press, opened Schulte’s trial by maintaining the CIA did not want these documents published and the CIA had no idea how they were leaked. They also do not know when, why, or who leaked the documents.Shroff further suggested the CIA felt pressure to blame someone, and Schulte was an easy target. “All they know is WikiLeaks published the information on March 7, 2017.”In October 2018, Attorney General William Barr imposed special administrative measures (SAMs) on Schulte. The complaint [PDF] alleges the prison has imposed additional “arbitrary punishment” that was not authorized.“MCC’s treatment of pretrial detainees is truly abhorrent, unconscionable, cruel and unusual punishment,” the complaint declares. “SAMs inmates are locked in concrete boxes the size of parking spaces with purposefully obstructed views of outside. The cages are filthy and infested with rodents, rodent droppings, cockroaches, and mold.”“There is no heating or air conditioning in the cages. There is no functioning plumbing. The lights burn brightly 24 hours per day, and the inmates are denied outside recreation, normal commissary, normal visitation, access to books and legal material, medical care, and dental care.”The complaint adds, “All attorney-client privilege is also void to SAMs inmates as the prison confiscates, opens, and reads all legal mail. Inmates are forbidden from transferring legal material to and from their attorneys.”Schulte is allegedly denied proper heating and air conditioning, and the cells in 10 South, the SAMs unit, lack insulation. This means he wears “four sets of clothing, five sets of socks, a sweatshirt and sweatpants, two blankets, three sets of socks on his hands, and still freezes when the temperature in his cell plummets below freezing and water literally freezes in his cell.”The warden and MCC staff, the complaint argues, are “aware and indifferent to this barbaric torture.”Schulte has not been outside in over two years because there is no outside recreation available to SAMs detainees. He cannot even see the world outside his cell because windows are blacked out.“Despite Mr. Schulte’s congenital heart issues and ongoing cardiologist appointments, he has not seen a doctor since his trial in February 2020. Additionally, Mr. Schulte has not once seen a dentist at MCC.”“When [10 South] inmates are moved, they must be shackled from head-to-toe like Hannibal,” the complaint states. Schulte is “handcuffed, belly-chained, and foot-cuffed,” even though he has never been accused of violence or committing disciplinary infractions.The FBI intercepts Schulte’s mail in order to prevent the “alleged dissemination of classified information.” Yet, it is impossible for Schulte to “transmit classified information by receiving mail, especially court mail.”Schulte’s lawyers contend, “The mail interception is arbitrarily imposed in violation of the Fifth Amendment. This court should modify SAMs and issue an order preventing the FBI from intercepting or reading any incoming mail to Mr. Schulte.”All of the alleged violations of his constitutional rights under the Eighth Amendment are practically impossible for Schulte to challenge through the “administrative remedy” process supposedly available to prisoners.First, MCC did not reply “in a timely manner” so Schulte appealed to a regional office. That regional office claimed he failed to “file at the institutional level,” even though he was cleared to appeal because the MCC had not responded to his grievance within 20 days. This regional office also disqualified his complaint because it was not written in ballpoint pen. (Schulte is banned from using pens.)Schulte appealed to the Central Office, which is next in the bureaucratic hierarchy. He received “similar denials.”On top of that, the prison apparently has an “informal resolution process” that prisoners like Schulte are required to go through before they can formally complain. Schulte has 17 outstanding forms submitted through this process. He is not to be given a form that allows him to pursue an administrative remedy unless the prison replies to these forms.The warden limits prisoners’ ability to formally file requests, and as a result, Schulte’s lawyers insist this is in violation of the Prison Litigation Reform Act.Prisoners in 10 South are “often forced to urinate and defecate in plastic bags. During visitation, inmates are moved to a 6×6 ft. cage. Instead of taking the inmate back to his cage after visitation, as would be logical, [Solitary Housing Unit] lieutenants take the visitors back first.”It can be anywhere from five to seven hours before the lieutenants return, which means prisoners must go to the bathroom in a plastic bag they were given.Systematic abuse and mistreatment of SAMs prisoners played a decisive role in District Judge Vanessa Baraitser’s decision to deny the U.S. government’s extradition request against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. He would likely be placed under the kind of restrictions Schulte has faced if the U.S. prevailed and brought him to the country for a trial on Espionage Act charges.Even more troubling, Schulte already went to trial once. A jury did not convict, yet because the Justice Department is responsible for his SAMs designation—and they have not given up on their leak prosecution—the cruelty has not abated.“It is barbaric and inhumane to lock human beings into boxes for years and years,” the complaint concludes. “It is a punishment worse than death, and there is no wonder that MCC inmates would rather kill themselves than continue to live in absolute oppression.”“No matter what crime an individual is alleged to have committed, the United States Constitution grants all a presumption of innocence. Indeed, no American wants to be treated like a caged animal if accused of a crime—dependent, deserted, dehumanized, demoralized, and detained.”

      • The Insider: Mash editor who visited ‘Putin’s palace’ has links to the presidential administration

        Maxim Iksanov, the editor-in-chief, director, and co-owner of the Telegram-based news outlet Mash, lives in an apartment building owned by a federal agency under Putin’s jurisdiction, The Insider reported on Friday, January 29.

      • Daniel Pearl case: Pakistan SC acquits terrorist Omar Saeed Sheikh

        Pakistan Supreme Court on Thursday, January 28 ordered the release of terrorist Ahmad Omar Saeed Sheikh who kidnapped and murdered American journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002.

        A three-judge bench headed by Justice Mushir Alam dismissed the Sindh government’s appeal against the Sindh high court’s ruling to overturn Saeed’s conviction for the 2002 beheading of Pearl and directed authorities to release him.

      • Julian Assange Deserves a Nobel Peace Prize

        More than one individual can nominate Assange; he’s already been nominated this year by people including former Peace Prize winner Mairead Maguire and French politician Jean-Luc Mélenchon. Maguire and four other Peace Prize winners wrote a letter to then-President Trump recounting Assange’s contributions toward peace:

      • Biggest MAGA Conference Threatens Politico With Bogus Lawsuit For Reporting On Conference Troubles

        CPAC, the “Conservative Political Action Conference” put on each year by Matt Schlapp’s American Conservative Union (ACU), used to be the kind of gathering where Republicans would go to get their yearly talking points fed to them. Over the past few years, it has become increasingly tied at the hip with the Trumpists, as they took over the Republican party, threw out anything even remotely resembling principles, and just started acting like “making the libs cry” was a political platform. With the Republicans now losing both the White House and both houses of Congress, as well as some concerns about how some leading members of the Republican Party (looking at you Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley) were seen inspiring insurrectionists to storm the Capitol and try to overthrow an election, it seems like many people and organizations who would normally attend or sponsor CPAC (justifying it with the old “gotta work with both sides” nonsense) are deciding to stay away.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Unity: What Is It Good For?

        Joe Biden’s call for unity, echoed in the pious and prayerful cant of countless bloviators on the liberal cable networks, is not about that.

        It is not about fundamental – radical – change from the bottom up, but about restoring the order that Donald Trump and his minions put in jeopardy, not for the sake of anything remotely worthwhile, but in order to indulge the narcissistic fantasies of a conman and reality TV personality, and to keep his brand from going under.

      • Mittens and Minimalism

        Now Kardashian’s husband Kanye West has grown jealous of her attention towards incarcerated people, stuck within an enclosed space, and thus Kardashian is seeking a divorce, creating distance between her and her husband.

        Take this in contrast to the genius minimalist Agnes Martin who not only did not have a television show about her life, she also did not read a newspaper for the last 50 years of it. Martin left New York City after buildings in the Coentes Slip were destroyed. Perhaps the answer to the question posed at the start of Moby Dick became too sorrowful to bear: “Circumambulate the city of a dreamy Sabbath afternoon. Go from Corlears Hook to Coenties Slip, and from thence, by Whitehall, northward. What do you see?”

      • How the National Security State Has Come to Dominate a “Civilian” Government

        At a time of acute concern about the health of our democracy, any such rethinking must, among other things, focus on strengthening the authority of civilians and civilian institutions over the military in an American world where almost the only subject the two parties in Congress can agree on is putting up ever more money for the Pentagon. This means so many in our political system need to wean themselves from the counterproductive habit of reflexively seeking out military or retired military voices to validate them on issues ranging from public health to border security that should be quite outside the military’s purview.

        It’s certainly one of the stranger phenomena of our era: after 20 years of endless war in which trillions of dollars were spent and hundreds of thousands died on all sides without the U.S. military achieving anything approaching victory, the Pentagon continues to be funded at staggering levels, while funding to deal with the greatest threats to our safety and “national security” — from the pandemic to climate change to white supremacy — proves woefully inadequate. In good times and bad, the U.S. military and the “industrial complex” that surrounds it, which President Dwight D. Eisenhower first warned us about in 1961, continue to maintain a central role in Washington, even though they’re remarkably irrelevant to the biggest challenges facing our democracy.

      • Cops, Vigilantes and the Ruling Class

        This collusion was not extraordinary, rather it fits a long- standing pattern with one huge exception: when cops collude with vigilantes, white supremacists and right-wing gangs, it’s always against Black and Brown people or workers. Never is it an attack on the ruling parties or ruling class interests — until now. And, that makes all the difference.

        On Jan. 6, a vanguard within the generally disorganized mob was well trained in military tactics and remarkably unafraid of the Capitol Police. Some arrested for their role in the riot were retired or off-duty cops, (including two Capitol Police officers) and nearly 20% of those arrested were veterans. At least 28 off-duty cops were in the crowd. Among those arrested were a white supremacist Army Reservist with a secret-level security clearance and a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel who carried zip-ties and wore tactical gear. One group marched up the Capitol steps in “Ranger File” a tactic used by the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan.

      • Thirty-One Flavors of Fascism

        Fascism, seriously? Yes, absolutely, provided we have a reasonable definition. In his incisive 2009 book The Eliminationists: How Hate Talk Radicalized the American Right, David Neiwert rightly observed that “Fascism is not a single, readily identifiable principle but rather a political pathology best understood (as in psychology) as a constellation of traits. Taken individually,” Neiwert wrote, “many of these traits seem innocuous enough, even readily familiar, a part of the traditional American hurry-burly. A few of them …are present throughout the political spectrum. Only when taken together does the constellation become clear, and then it is fated to take on a life of its own.”

        What comprises this collection of characteristics? Here are my top 29 traits of fascism, cobbled together with no claim to originality in concept or phrasing:

      • Biden Orders Justice Department To Phase Out Use of Private Prisons

        Civil liberties and criminal justice groups applauded the order, although it was far from their most significant demands of the new administration, which include ending the federal death penalty and ending solitary confinement.

      • How Many Americans Are Homeless? No One Knows

        The government pretends that the problem is smaller than it actually is. It estimated last year that nearly 568,000 Americans were homeless in January 2019. That figure is not just badly out of date. It was clearly wrong at the time, too.

        We don’t know exactly how many people are homeless in America. We don’t even have a particularly good guess. But the federal estimate relies on local one-night-only head counts of the homeless population, conducted at the end of January, that seem almost designed to produce an undercount. A federal audit recently described the method as unreliable, which means that the government’s ignorance is impeding efforts to provide necessary aid to people in desperate need.

      • Germany: Fatal knife attack by an Afghan on a public bus – he stabbed his separated wife to death in front of the bus passengers because he was afraid of losing his reputation in the Afghan community

        According to the prosecution, this was exactly why the accused planned an attack in public: he had assumed that the woman would feel safe on the bus. Several passengers testified in court that the attack came from behind and without warning. “She had no chance,” said a student who had witnessed the attack.

      • In early action, Biden tries to make good on pledge to heal America’s racial divide

        Biden said his order directing the Justice Department not to renew its contracts with privately operated criminal detention facilities is intended to ultimately end the department’s use of private prisons.

        The order did not address contracts for private prisons by the Department of Homeland Security, which uses such facilities to detain immigrants who are in the country illegally.

        Biden described the move as the first step to “stop corporations from profiting” from the incarceration of inmates, and said it was just the start of his administration’s plan to address systemic problems in the criminal justice system.

      • Joe Biden Should Tell Amazon’s Workers They’re Stronger With a Union

        There’s never been a better time for a high-profile politician — say, someone who has promised to be the “most pro-union” president in US history — to weigh in on the side of a private-sector union, and there is one union drive, in particular, that is garnering international attention.

      • Alexei Navalny Grows More Powerful Every Time Putin Talks About Him

        Тhe parallels were simply too much for Vladimir Putin. The last time a major opposition leader was allowed to return home from Germany unimpeded, it did not end well for Russia’s ruling elite. On January 17, the Kremlin was not about to let Alexey Navalny copy the man whose arrival by sealed train from Berlin in 1917 after years in Swiss exile sparked the October Revolution.

      • Papers Please Has Something To Tell You About The ‘No Fly’ List And It’s Going To Make You Sad

        How does someone end up on the federal government’s “no-fly” list? You’d think the shorter, less-convoluted question would be how one avoids ending up on this list. Unfortunately, the answer to either question is a convoluted mess — one complicated unnecessarily by the number of federal agencies that think they should have a say in who lives and who flies.

      • Charles Mills Thinks Liberalism Still Has a Chance

        Arguably no contemporary scholar has thought more deeply about how liberalism as a political tradition and philosophy has been historically and structurally biased towards the socioeconomic interests of white people than the political philosopher Charles W. Mills. In works such as The Racial Contract and Black Rights/White Wrongs, he has sought to show the reality of an ongoing system of white domination in which liberalism—both as a philosophy and as a system of governance—is complicit. Mills traces the problem back to the origins of modern liberalism, when liberals thinkers such as Kant and Locke limited the question of moral and political equality to whites, at the same time that European powers were enslaving and oppressing nonwhite peoples.1

      • Trump Judges Are Already Thwarting Biden’s Agenda

        Well, that didn’t take long. Just six days into the Biden administration, the federal courts, stacked as they are with judges appointed by Donald Trump and confirmed by Mitch McConnell’s Senate, have moved to thwart a piece of the new president’s agenda. I could say “I told you so,” because I did.

      • ‘Roadmap to Freedom’: Jayapal and AOC Lead Progressive Dems With Visionary Immigration Reform Bill

        “I know that we must do far more than simply reverse the harmful, xenophobic policies of the Trump administration.”

      • Letter Demanding Dismissal of Charges for the 500+ Black Lives Matter Protesters in the City of Atlanta | National Lawyers Guild

        We represent the members of the National Lawyers Guild, including the Metro Atlanta Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG Metro Atlanta) and The United People of Color Caucus of the National Lawyers Guild (TUPOCC). The National Lawyers Guild, whose membership includes lawyers, legal workers, jailhouse lawyers, and law students, was formed in 1937 as the United States’ first racially-integrated bar association to advocate for the protection of constitutional, human and civil rights. We are writing to you to demand that the pending charges against the over 500 protestors from last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests be dismissed. This request comes on the heels of the country watching with horror as white supremacist insurgents took to our country’s capital to prevent the democratic process of confirming President Joseph R. Biden in Congress. We watched these same insurgents walk the streets of the capital well past curfew without arrest. The insurgency of January 6, 2021 made evident what many of us in the fight for racial justice and the end to police brutality already knew: that there are two Americas– one where white supremacists get to roam the streets violently without consequence and one where peaceful Black Lives Matter protestors mourning the unjust murders of Black people are swiftly arrested right as the second hand on the proverbial clock hits curfew.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • 27% Of Cable TV Subscribers Will Cut The Cord This Year

        The cable industry was already struggling last year, when a record number of cable customers “cut the cord” and flocked to over the air or streaming alternatives. That was before a pandemic came to town. Now, with live sports less consistent and folks desperate to cut costs as they struggle to pay rent, the trend simply exploded in 2020. The number of folks still paying for traditional cable has now dropped 22.8% from pay TV’s peak back in 2014. But by the end of 2024, analysts expect that fewer than half of US homes will subscribe to a traditional pay TV service.

      • The Wall Street Journal Kisses Big Telecom’s Ass In Whiny Screed About ‘Big Tech’

        Apparently, when you write about major tech policy for the Wall Street Journal, you don’t have to have the slightest idea what you’re talking about. Take, for example, this bizarre piece by Allysia Finley dubbed “Net Neutrality and Big Tech’s Speech Hypocrisy.” Finley and the WSJ editorial board were apparently excited to paint “big tech” companies as hypocrites for supporting net neutrality, while (gasp) opposing efforts to dismantle Section 230 by a bunch of folks who think they have a God-given right to be bigoted, trolling assholes on private platforms.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • The Ideological Function of Netflix: the Trial of Chicago 7

        The film industry in the USA has become the ideological arm of the war machine with a tripartite vision of revisionism. The process is clever in that in a docu-fiction, a film that relies upon an original historical event to create an attractive package, for market, must be careful to revise the original so it appears to be the truth/accurate/ real as it disguises its mechanisms in reel time. It follows the tried form of bourgeois melodrama wherein the first act is a conflict between two individuals a struggle for control in which the protagonist wins by an eruption the deux ex machina change! and proceeds to join the establishment. The dispute must avoid a critique of the formal institutions of power. This exclusion creates difficulties for the intelligent mind author/director/camera/costumer et.al, however with enough money, experience and ideological training a radical historical event can be turned into a soap opera for patriotism.

        Aaron Sorkin’s Netflix feature has an important advantage in that the subject is 50 years old and only those over 65 can remember it so that the manufacturing of inventive variations is open territory. In the effort to begin unraveling the ideological set a bit of actual fact is helpful just to set up an alternative interpretation to the docu-fiction argument and at the same time not argue this is true that is false. Rather the way to jostle thru the debris of distortion is to establish the industry’s purpose in particular and in general.

      • Georgia Towns Sue Netflix In Flimsy Bid To Nab A Slice Of The Pie

        A handful of municipalities in Georgia have filed a lawsuit (pdf) against Hulu, Netflix, and other streaming providers in a ham-fisted bid to saddle customers with cable franchise fees. Such franchise fees were common in the cable TV era. In large part because such cable providers had a physical presence in local municipalities. They utilized public rights of way, hung their coaxial cable on city-owned utility poles, often had local offices or broadcast hubs, and in some instances provided public access television.

    • Monopolies

      • ‘Remove this infection from your network’: The small Russian company that ‘saved’ Parler has other, far more odious clients

        In January 2021, a small website security company based in Russia called “DDoS-Guard” made its infrastructure available to the American social network Parler, after Amazon Web Services refused to host the service and both Apple and Google removed Parler from its app stores for failing to moderate and delete content that promotes violence. The catalyst for dropping the largely right-wing social network was the storming of the U.S. Capitol building on January 6, which resulted in five deaths and was allegedly coordinated, in part, using services like Parler. Even before it started doing business with Parler, DDoS-Guard had a reputation for hosting infamous groups like the Islamist movement Hamas and the conspiracy-theorist forum 8chan. 

      • Google directly appealing to Australian Google Search users over News Media code

        With Google the most popular search engine in the world, despite the efforts of Bing, DuckDuckGo, Ecosia, Yahoo and others, Google effectively has a direct line to tens of millions of Australian eyeballs, whenever they search for something online.

      • Facebook developing tool that lets advertisers avoid certain topics

        The new “topic exclusion controls” will be tested with a small group of advertisers in the early stages, the company said in the announcement. The tech giant did not identify which advertisers will participate in the testing phase.

      • Facebook reportedly preparing to file an antitrust lawsuit against Apple

        The report, which cites anonymous sources, said the antitrust lawsuit, should it go ahead, will allege that Apple is forcing developers to follow App Store rules that Apple’s own apps do not have to follow. The complaint may also allege that Apple’s refusal to allow third-party apps from becoming the default messaging services on iOS devices instead of iMessage is also anticompetitive.

        Another aspect of the potential Facebook lawsuit could include Apple forcing developers to use Apple’s own in-app payment services. Should Facebook argue that in a lawsuit, it would follow in the footsteps of Epic Games Ltd. which filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple in August claiming that the forced use of Apple’s payment services was also anticompetitive.

      • Google contradicts its own claims by trying to cut deals on the sly

        Search behemoth Google, which is trying to muscle the Australian Government into accepting a news media code devised by itself, has contradicted its own threat to pull out of the market by slyly approaching smaller news organisations and trying to cut deals on its (Google’s) terms.

      • Patents

        • All Hands On Deck: Ensuring Innovation, Not Just Patents, From All

          As the Iancu era at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office comes to a close, one of the USPTO’s initiatives has focused on promoting diversity in patenting. The newly established National Council on Expanding American Innovation, and the associated USPTO request for comments on a national strategy for expanding innovation, focus on having under-represented groups more involved in creating patentable inventions.

        • Software Patents

          • $3,500 Awarded for Trust & Verify Data Protection Prior Art — Unified Patents

            Unified is pleased to announce the PATROLL crowdsourcing contest winner, Preeti Dua, who received a cash prize of $3,500 for her prior art submission for U.S. Patent 7,162,735. The patent is owned by Trust & Verify Data Protection, LLC, an NPE. The ’735 patent generally relates to an arrangement with a protected code that comprises incomplete executable code and a call instruction to a security code such that when the security code is executed, it replaces the call instruction such that the executable code of the protected code is complete. The ‘735 patent has been asserted against Best Buy, McAfee, Electronic Arts, Aspyr Media, Vimeo, Buzzfeed, and King.com.

          • Microsoft Patent: Chatbots Made From The Online Habits Of Dead People

            Every once in a while, you come across some story about chatbots. These tend to range from fun stories about how someone makes a chatbot to make some interaction more efficient to some large company making a chatbot that turns out to be horrifically racist thanks to its interactions with the general public. Good times all around, in other words.

          • Crandall Technologies patent challenged

            On January 29, 2021, Unified Patents filed an ex parte reexamination proceeding against U.S. Patent 9,645,720, owned and asserted by Crandall Technologies LLC, an NPE. The ’720 patent is related to digital data sharing and has been asserted against Vudu.

          • Velos Media reexamination request granted

            On January 29, 2021, continuing in Unified’s ongoing efforts in its SEP Video Codec Zone, the USPTO granted Unified’s request for ex parte reexamination. It found substantial questions of patentability for all claims of U.S. Patent 9,743,086, owned by Velos Media. The ’086 patent has been designated as essential in the Velos Media patent pool.

            Read the request below. Unified is represented by David Cavanaugh, Scott Bertulli, Brian Lambson, and Jonathan Knight from WilmerHale and by in-house counsel, Ashraf Fawzy and Jessica L.A. Marks, in this proceeding.

      • Copyrights

        • ‘Pirate’ Releases Recover From Historic Drop Caused By Scene Busts

          Last summer US Government enforcement hit the piracy scene hard. Raids all over the world took down the SPARKS release group and three of its members were arrested. As panic spread across the Scene the number of new releases tanked. Today, five months later, the flow of new content has pretty much returned to normal.

        • Russia Anti-Piracy Agreement Renews, Moves Towards Expansion

          After being signed by some of Russia’s most powerful tech and entertainment companies in 2018, their landmark anti-piracy agreement was set to expire at the end of this month. According to telecoms watchdog Roscomnadzor, all parties have now reached an agreement to continue until at least the end of August, with expansion also on the horizon.

        • The Crunch Is On: Join Our Public Domain Game Jam And Whip Up An Entry This Weekend!

          Sign up for the Public Domain Game Jam on itch.io »

        • The Clock Is Ticking On Our Public Domain Game Jam!

          Sign up for the Public Domain Game Jam on itch.io »

        • Say Hello to CC Belgium!

          We have been running as an informal chapter for more than 10 years with different people as Chapter Leads. For several years, a team led by Severine Dussolier from CRID at the University of Namur, stewarded the translations of the CC License Suite (adapting them to Belgian law). The Chapter was then led by Yannick H’Madoun (with KU Leuven at that time), followed by Gwen Franck who has been very active as an EIRE representative. As a former member of the international Creative Commons’ team, Gwen has provided many important connections. In 2020, she passed the lead to Nicolas Pettiaux. We are now a formal CC Chapter, organizing new activities and focusing on:

        • Welcome CC Morocco to the Open Community!

          The establishment of the CC Chapter Morocco is an outcome of many years of interest of its members in developing open access to scientific information and creating open repositories. The main objective of CC Morocco is to strengthen skills about open access, Creative Commons, and open educational resources in the country. The Chapter aims to also provide an open access library to disseminate scientific publications and contribute to the development of local research which meets the needs of Moroccan society.

        • More YTS Users Settle Piracy Claims After More Legal Pressure

          Two users of the torrent site YTS, whose personal details were shared by the operator of the site, have settled piracy claims for thousands of dollars. The Colorado men were taken to court after they initially ignored out-of-court settlement demands. The movie companies’ attorney says that the men were offered “generous” deals due to the hardship they endured due to the COVID pandemic.

        • Former Pirate Scanlation Site Fakku Wants Cloudflare To Unmask Hentai.cafe Operator

          After being founded in 2006, Fakku became a major source of ‘pirate’ adult manga scanlations. This changed when the site went completely legit in 2015 but in an interesting sign of how things can change, the platform is now seeking to identify the operator of Hentai.cafe, a site that posts Fakku content online without permission.

        • The Lies Told About The EU Copyright Directive’s Upload Filters May Help Get Them Thrown Out In Court

          Although the main fight over the EU’s Copyright Directive was lost back in March 2019, there are plenty of local battles underway. That’s a consequence of the fact that an EU Directive has to be implemented by separate national laws in each of the region’s 27 member states. Drawing up the local legislation is mostly straightforward, except for the controversial Article 17, which effectively brings in a requirement to filter all uploads. Trying to come up with a text that meets the contradictory obligations of the Directive is proving difficult. For example, although the law is supposed to stop unauthorized uploads, this must not be through “general monitoring”, which is not permitted in the EU because of the e-Commerce Directive.

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  30. Adding, Seaming Together, Merging, or Concatenating Videos From the Command Line With FFMPEG (Scripting for Streamlining of Workflows)

    In order to enrich the looks of videos with almost no extra time/effort (all scripted, no GUIs should be needed) use ffmpeg with the concat operator; but there are several big gotchas, namely lack of sound and need for consistency across formats/codecs and even sampling rates


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